Bergenia crassifolia (syn. Bergenia cordifolia) is a winter-hardy perennial species of flowering plants in the Saxifragaceae family. This lovely plant is native to several regions of Europe and Central Asia. It shows up mostly on stony slopes, in the vicinity of rock streams, near shady north-facing rocks, or old moraines in alpine zones or forests.
A particularly attractive feature of Bergenia crassifolia is its very low-demanding nature. In addition to that, this popular ornamental plant comes in cultivation with superb varieties to enchant our senses. Some of the most appreciated cultivars include ‘Angel Kiss’, ‘Autumn Red’, ‘Ballawley, ‘Purpurea’, ‘Rosa Zeiten’, ‘Senior’, ‘Solar Flare’, and ‘Winter Glow’.
If you are a beginner gardener, this hardy and low-maintenance plant will make a great addition to your plant collection. Keep reading to learn more about Begenia crassifolia, also known as Badan.
About Bergenia Crassifolia
- Bergenia crassifolia goes by many common names. These include Badan, Winter-blooming Bergenia, Heart-leaved Bergenia, Leather Bergenia, Korean Elephant-ear, Elephant’s Ears, Siberian Tea, Pigsqueak, and Mongolian Tea.
- With its burgundy-greenish foliage and adorable pink flowers, the spectacular ‘Rosa Zeiten’ cultivar has gained the prestigious Award of Garden Merit.
- The specific epithet “crassifolia” comes from the words “crassus” and “folia”, which basically mean “thick-leaved” in Latin. On the other hand, the epithet “cordifolia” means “cordate (heart-shaped) leaf”.
- A popular common name for Bergenia crassifolia is Pigsqueak. The plant got its name as a result of a pig squeaking sound that can be made if you rub two Bergenia leaves together.
- Native to Siberia and Mongolia, Bergenia crassifolia plays a big part in Russian, China, and Tibet traditional medicine.
- In Ayurvedic and Unani medicine, the roots and rhizomes of Bergenia plants are used as effective treatments against headache, fever, cold, articular rheumatism, gastrointestinal issues, lung and liver disease, laryngitis, tuberculosis, inflammation, bleeding, tumours, fevers and other health problems.
- In Siberia, Mongolia, and Altay, people use the leaves of Bergenia crassifolia as a tea substitute. The roots and leaves are rich in tannins so they are used in winemaking, in the leather industry, for tanning soles, and the impregnation of tarpaulins and nets.
- The flowers of Bergenia crassifolia are highly attractive to pollinators. Bergenia crassifolia will provide pollen and nectar for different types of pollinating insects including bees.
- Bergenia crassifolia is a perfect ornamental addition to various landscape decorations, such as city gardens, cottage gardens, rock gardens, coastal gardens, beds, borders, slopes, banks, and even containers.
- Winter-blooming bergenia can make for a wonderful companion to other irresistible species. The most suitable companions for this plant are Actaea simplex ‘James Compton’, Astilbes, Helleborus, Heuchera, Hosta, Forget-Me-Nots, Creeping Phlox, Siberian Bugloss, Bleeding Hearts, and Ferns.
- Although Bergenia crassifolia is not poisonous to humans, it can be fairly toxic to dogs and cats if ingested. For safety purposes, grow this plant in a spot where your furry friends cannot reach it.
Bergenia Crassifolia Features: An Overview
- This plant belongs to the Bergenia genus that contains about 30 species of flowering plants. It shares this genus with species like B. ciliata, B. ligulata, B. purpurascens, B. stracheyi, and their nice-looking cultivars.
- Bergenia crassifolia is an evergreen perennial flowering plant. Depending on the variety, this buddy can reach from 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm) in both height and width.
- It is a clump-forming plant that emerges from a creeping, thick, fleshy rhizome that features numerous highly branched root lobes. The rhizome usually measures 1.4 inches (3.5 cm) in diameter and several feet (meters) in length.
- The foliage consists of basal dense rosettes of large, leathery, wavy, thick, ovate to heart-shaped, and toothed-edged leaves. They come in light to dark green shades but may turn into beautiful burgundy-red to bronze hues in autumn.
- Bergenia crassifolia generally bloom from winter through spring. During this period, it produces clusters of tiny, nodding, trumped-shaped, and purple-pink flowers. The clusters appear on erect, thick, leafless, and pink-red stems.
- After its flowering season, Bergenia crassifolia bears fruits where the clusters once were. The fruits are ellipsoidal, dry capsules that contain lots of smooth, glabrous, oblong, almost black seeds.
Growing Bergenia Crassifolia
When it comes to lighting, Bergenia crassifolia is one of those easy-going plants that thrive without too much of it. In general, this plant grows at its best in shady gardens, tolerating any kind of exposure from partial shade to heavy shade. But if you cannot grow your plant in a shaded location, no worries! It will also perform pretty well in sunlight as long as you provide it with more moisture than usual.
Many gardeners absolutely love Bergenia crassifolia for its ability to tolerate prolonged periods of cold temperatures. This plant is winter-hardy in the USDA areas 4 to 8. However, it will not handle the freezing conditions from colder climates as well. It usually does best in regions with cool or hot summer months.
Bergenia crassifolia will successfully overwinter if you give it a little extra help. Make sure you add some compost to your plant in early winter, no matter what type of soil you are growing it in. We recommend you cover the clumps with many chopped leaves to protect them against freezing winter weather.
Planting Bergenia Crassifolia
In terms of growing medium, you will have to pay more attention to the particular needs of your Bergenia crassifolia. The plant will show the best results in loamy soils that are rich in organic matter and nutrients. The soil must be slightly acidic to neutral with a pH ranging from 5.8 to 7.0. Still, Bergenia crassifolia can also grow nicely in clay substrates, but only if you lighten them over time with a top layer of compost.
Bergenia plants are big fans of moist environments, but they also need good drainage, especially if they grow in full shade. They can tolerate dry soil for a while, but only when they grow in shaded locations. Bergenia can’t tolerate extreme heat, so if you live in a region with very hot summers, you might want to reconsider growing these plants as they will not survive the intense afternoon sun, especially in combination with drought. Too much sun and heat will cause sunscald. Sunlight can cause serious damage to these plants causing their leaves to turn yellow or brown, to wilt or dry up, and even to become crumbly.
- You will get 1 packet contains 1 oz Seeds (Approx 161737 Seeds) of Bergenia crassifolia pacifica, Russian Bergenia Flower.
- Minimum Hardiness Zone: 3.
- Scarification: none required. Stratification: none required. Germination: surface sow and keep moist, requires light for germination.
- Expect germination in 10 days @ 70-85 degrees F, it will take longer if cooler.
- It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Mar to April. It is a very ornamental plant, it is hardy to about -20°c.
- Bergenia Cordifolia grows as a hardy perennial in USDA Zones: 3 - 8 and thrives in partial shade.
- Bergenia ground cover is a type of Saxifraga and only reaches a height of 6 inches with deer resistant carmine red blooms from late winter to mid spring.
- These low-growing flowers are also evergreen and make wonderful container plants for your porch or patio.
- Sow these heirloom seeds at 4 seeds per cell in well-drained soil and keep moist until germination occurs in 21 - 42 days.
- Bergenia perform happily in any well-drained, slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil. They tolerate short periods of drought, yet perform best if the soil is kept moderately moist. Thrive in full sun to light shade. One of the truly great ground covers that can be grown from flower seeds.
- Great Ground Cover
- Great for Rock Gardens or Containers
Last update on 2023-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
So what does Bergenia crassifolia need in order to thrive? A location with plenty of shade and moisture, protection from the sun, and regular watering during the summer.
Fertilizing is not necessary while growing and caring for a Bergenia crassifolia. This plant is a light feeder and will do just fine only with the organic matter provided along the way. If you want to give your plant the time of its life, amend its soil once every year.
Pruning-wise, Bergenia crassifolia will require it only once in a while. This process is a great idea in case you want to remove the spent flowers for a nice, fresh overall look. Keep in mind, though, that deadheading will not bring new flowers on display. Likewise, you can trim the unhealthy foliage back to give your plant a more tidy appearance.
Growing a Bergenia crassifolia in a container is, without a doubt, a truly enjoyable experience. If you are choosing this for your plant, you can plant it in any commercial potting mix. Look for a pot that has at least 12 inches (31 cm) in diameter to give your Bergenia enough room to grow. To avoid overcrowding the plant, you can transplant them into a larger pot after its blooming period and also divide it as needed.
Watering Bergenia Crassifolia
Bergenia crassifolia is a big fan of consistent moisture. Luckily, this plant does not know what root rot is, so over-watering it will not be too much of a big deal. To ensure your plant retains moisture better, it would be wise to spoil it with a 3-inch (7.5 cm) layer of mulch. Believe us, you will surely win its trust with this!
In general, the amount of water a Bergenia crassifolia needs will directly depend on the environmental conditions in which it grows. Plants that experience lots of sunlight will typically require a nice drink once every three days or so. On the other hand, shade-growing Bergenias will do well with weekly watering and even become somewhat tolerant of drought for short periods.
Propagating Bergenia Crassifolia
If patience is your middle name, keep an eye on your Bergenia crassifolia once its flowering period has come to an end. Why is that important? Well, the plant has a habit of bearing fruits where the blossoms were and also release seeds when they ripen. The seeds are an excellent propagation material but, again, it will take some time to see the results.
Starting your own Bergenia crassifolia from seeds is, however, a super easy process. When the fruits are ripe, you can collect the seeds and sow them outdoors directly into the ground. Since the seeds need plenty of light to germinate, it is best to press them into the soil just a bit and avoid covering them with the substrate afterwards. If you want to maximize your chances, we suggest you sow the seeds in sterile soil. Keep the soil warm and constantly moist and you will see the magic happen after four to six weeks.
Another method to propagate your Bergenia crassifolia is the well-known division. This is a much easier process and will also make you more Bergenias in no time. When the autumn comes, dig the roots of your plant out of the soil. Next, you can divide your Bergenia crassifolia with your bare hands and replant the parts wherever you like to. If you want to obtain a showy impact for your garden, make sure each clump has at least five leaves.
Bergenia crassifolia can also spread through creeping rhizomes, but this process can be a bit slower than other propagation methods.
Bergenia Crassifolia Pests and Diseases
Although Bergenia crassifolia is a pest-resistant plant, it is important to remember that all plants that thrive in shade are also exposed to some dampness. This means that you might have to deal with some intruders like weevils, slugs, and snails. These pests will bother your plant by feeding on its elegant leaves at night. If you notice that the leaves of your Bergenia are notched, you can remove the pests and the affected foliage, then apply an insecticidal soap regularly.
Plants that grow in soggy areas of the garden can also be affected by fungal leaf spots. If your Bergenia crassifolia is affected by fungal leaf spots, its leaves will start to wilt and change colour and you might also notice water-soaked lesions. To prevent your plant from developing this type of problem, make sure you plant Bergenias in well-draining soil. It is also wise to avoid overcrowding the flower beds and to only water your plants at ground level and not from above.
Another common problem for Bergenias is anthracnose, which is a group of fungal diseases that resembles leaf spots but manifests through dark lesions on the leaves. The first signs of anthracnose are brown or grey lesions that have a sunken centre and that have a tendency to grow and to cover large portions of the leaves. This plant disease can easily be avoided by ensuring good air circulation around the plants, not overcrowding them, and by watering the plants near the base.
As pretty as a picture, Bergenia crassifolia has all it takes to be your next member in your beloved plant family. Besides its easy-to-propagate nature, this plant is a versatile garden companion. If you’re a novice gardener you’ll find that keeping Bergenias alive for a very long time is quite easy. These low-maintenance plants can tolerate a wide variety of soils, lighting conditions, temperatures, and watering routines. All you have to do is find the ideal Bergenia variety for your collection and enjoy its attractive foliage and blooms!
Are you growing Bergenia Crassifolia in your garden? Share your experience in the comment section!