Small evergreen perennial, Bergenia is a plant native to Asia, widespread in garden cultivation for centuries, typical of old gardens, it is having a renewed success lately; just less than a dozen species belong to the genus, among which the most widespread is B. cordifolia, with large foliage, shaped like a big heart; there are also cultivars and hybrids, formed over the years.
The foliage of the bergenia cordifolia it is large in size, slightly leathery, dark green in color, it tends to redden easily, due to cold or excessive insolation, acquiring greater decorative value. At the end of winter they are among the first flowers to bloom: the bergenias produce thin stems, which rise about 15-20 cm above the rosette of leaves, on which numerous small deep pink flowers bloom, gathered in disordered clusters.
The flower remains on the plant for a few weeks, as soon as it is completely withered in general it is advisable to trim the stem that carries it, in order to enjoy the foliage.
How to grow it
It is a very rustic perennial plant that survives even in less than ideal conditions; it can withstand frost, even very intense and persistent, which at most slightly ruins the foliage that is found in the outer part of the rosette; the problem resolves quickly in the spring, removing the external leaves more ruined by the cold, to favor the development of new foliage.
The bergenia cordifolia they lay in a sunny or partially shady place; they slightly fear the summer heat, so in areas with hot summer weather it is advisable to put the bergenias in a partially shaded place, or in any case where they can enjoy the cool of the shade at least during the hottest hours of the day.
They do not need a particular soil, and they also grow in stony or clayey soils, still preferring the soft and permeable soil; plants that have been planted for a long time seem to be able to survive even without care, to obtain a healthy and luxuriant plant it is however good to check that it does not remain dry for excessively long periods of time.
Bergenia - Bergenia cordifolia: Perennials in the garden
The so-called perennial plants are herbaceous plants, often of small or medium size, which vegetate throughout the year in the garden, many of them lose their aerial part during the winter, but have rhizomatous roots, which allows them to start over sprout after winter; others, such as bergenia, despite having large rhizomatous roots, are evergreen, and color a corner of the garden in every season of the year.
The greatest advantage of these plants lies in the fact that they stay in the garden from year to year, without occupying the space that is usually taken large or small shrubs, but remaining compact and close to the ground, as happens with many of the flowering annuals they are grown in flower beds.
Some perennials also have a very early flowering, as is the case of bergenia: as soon as the sun becomes warm, these plants begin to produce flowers of every type and color, cheering up even the most gray flowerbed.
Bearing the cold quite well, the flowers of the perennials are present in the garden spent well before the weather allows us to plant annuals.
As it happens in many cases, perennials have not only advantages, but also some defects, or some produce few, flowers, others need almost alpine climates to live, others tend to develop very well in the first year, and then tend to elongate too much or to bloom little.
We ask the nurseryman which is the best perennial for the flowerbed we are thinking about; for example bergenia, as well as pachysandra, ophiopogon and heuchera, with excellent results in partially shaded flower beds; the plants mentioned above also have the advantage of remaining evergreen throughout the year, becoming excellent ground cover.
Certainly some care is needed; if we intend to keep our flowerbed lush and beautiful every 2-3 years, in autumn, let's kneel down and unearth the fleshy roots, practicing a few portions of the clumps of plants, which we will then position well spaced out, thus obtaining the following spring healthier plants and luxuriant.
Sometimes even the most rustic perennial is ruined by a particularly stiff or snowy winter; in this case we can fill the holes left by the excessively damaged seedlings with new plants, which will soon replace the old ones.