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Bergenia Bergenia crassifolia

Previously known as:

  • Bergenia cordifolia
Phonetic Spelling
behr-GEEN-ee-ah krass-ih-FOH-lee-uh
Description

Bergenia is a large, glossy evergreen, hebacious perennial native to shady north-facing rocks, stony slopes, and rock streams in the forest and alpine zones of China and Siberia. It is a low-growing plant to a foot high with leaves produced in spreading clumps of 2 to 3 feet and makes a lovely ground cover in shady areas.  However, it can be slow to spread. Although it is considered drought-tolerant, the leaves will dry out if the soil is allowed to remain dry for an extended period.  Considered to be evergreen in more temperate areas of the country, it will sustain winter damage in northern areas. The common name pigsqueek comes into play when rubbing a leaf between your fingers and producing a sound much like the animals' squeal. The genus name honors Karl August von Bergen (1704-1759), a German physician and botanist and the specific epithet comes from the Latin words crassus meaning thick and folia meaning leaf in reference to the leathery leaves.

Bergenia grows best in moist organic soil, but tolerates sandy, loamy, and clay soils. It can grow in full shade or full sun and can tolerate drought. It will do best sited in a position sheltered from cold drying winds and from the early morning sun. The leaf colour is best when plants are grown in a poor soil in a sunny position. The plant typically blooms from March to May; however, when grown in the southernmost areas, it can bloom as early as December. 

The roots, leaves, and stems contain tannin in different percentages. Tannin is used in the production of leather and ink and is also an ingredient of tea. The leaves of this plant are used as a tea substitute and give it the common name, Siberian Tea.

Insects, Diseases and Other Plant Problems:   

No known diseases or plant problems. Remove all damaged foliage in late winter to early spring. Promptly remove spent flowering stems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Purpurea'
  • 'Rotblum'
'Purpurea', 'Rotblum'
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#perennials#pink flowers#shade garden#winter interest#rabbit resistant#herbaceous#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#spring interest#flowers early spring#partial shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Purpurea'
  • 'Rotblum'
'Purpurea', 'Rotblum'
Tags:
#evergreen#drought tolerant#perennials#pink flowers#shade garden#winter interest#rabbit resistant#herbaceous#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#spring interest#flowers early spring#partial shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Bergenia
    Species:
    crassifolia
    Family:
    Saxifragaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    East Asia, Northwest China, Siberia to North Korea
    Distribution:
    Central Europe and Great Britain
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Edibility:
    The leaves are used as a tea substitute.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3b, 3a, 4b, 4a, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is an ellipsoidal, dry capsule with two diverging lobes opening along the abdominal suture. Seeds are numerous, oblong, smooth, and black.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Cream/Tan
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Lavender pink flowers bloom through spring in panicles atop rigid leafless stalks rising to 18" tall. Individual flowers are small, but mass together atop the stalks. Flowers will bloom as early in warm winter climates.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large, 8 by 7 inch glossy evergreen leaves produced in spreading clumps. Leaves are leathery, fine-toothed, obovate-rounded.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Leafless stems up to 18" tall are topped with panicles of blooms in the spring.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heavy Shade
    Poor Soil