Growing Bergenia Cordifolia: Requirements Of The Heartleaf Bergenia

Bergenia cordifolia earned the common name Pigsqueak because of the squeaking sound made by rubbing two of the leaves together.

Flowering heartleaf Bergenia

Bergenia Cordifolia Care

Size & Growth

The plant growth rate is to a height and width of about 1 ½’ feet.

This evergreen perennial has large and attractive, dark green, rounded, toothed, glossy/leathery leaves and provides winter interest.

They grow in a rosette formation.

Flowering & Fragrance

At bloom time the showy heart-leaved Bergenia produces attractive flower colors:

  • Bressingham white
  • Red flowers
  • Deep pink or purple

… Bell-shaped flowers, which make lovely cut flowers.

The blossoms grow in thick clusters at the end of tall, sturdy stalks from early to late spring.

Light & Temperature

Pigsqueak grows well in partial shade. Plants do not do well in full shade.

It is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 3 to 8.

Plants can become severely damaged by cold weather in the lower zones.

Remove damage leaves in late winter or early spring.

Watering & Feeding

Water heart-leaved Bergenia thoroughly when you initially plant it.

After planting and watering, this drought tolerant, shady place plant may do very well with only natural rainfall.

Soil & Transplanting

This plant tolerates many different soil types but does best in a medium weight, well-drained soil enriched with humus.

Keep soil moist, not soggy.

Grooming & Maintenance

When an individual leaves die, trim them back. Do not cut this plant back before late winter.

Allow the leaves to stand through the winter and remove any damaged leaves when spring arrives, and new leaves begin to grow.

Remove spent flowers, stems and all, as soon as they begin to wither.

How To Propagate Cordifolia Bergenia

Bergenia plants are easy to propagate from seed.

New plants also spread from their creeping rhizomes. But, it is a slow process.

Heartleaf Bergenia Pests and Diseases

As long as the plant is grown in a good quality of soil and watered regularly, plants do not experience significant disease or insect problems.

As with all plants, excessive watering can lead to problems with rot and fungus, such as:

Compromised plants are always susceptible to attacks by pests.

Are Bergenia Plants Toxic or Poisonous?

This plant is not on the list as toxic.

However, some anecdotal accounts indicate it may cause some allergic reactions if ingested.

Since it is not intended to be an edible plant, eating it is not advised.

Is Bergenia Considered Invasive?

Bergenia is not invasive.

It grows slowly and does not need frequent division.

Divide rhizome clumps about once every five year-round.

Uses For Pigsqueak Bergenia

For some variety from hostas as a shady place plant, substitute Bergenia any place you would typically plant hostas.

Heart-Leaved Bergenia is an excellent choice for shaded or woodland garden design as it is rabbit and deer resistant.

It makes an excellent groundcover and is useful for controlling erosion on shady hillsides.

The plant does well as an edging border plant along a dark path or walkway.

If you have areas in the rock garden with part shade, it makes an excellent addition.

Other Bergenia plant types of interest

  • Bergenia ciliata – known as the winter bergenia, fringed bergenia or hairy leaf bergenia, with large-leaves, clump-forming and slow-growing.
  • Bergenia crassifolia – known as the leather bergenia, a large-leaved evergreen perennial with rose-pink flowers.

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