Known by many names including leather leaf bergenia, this herbaceous perennial is a member of the Saxifracaceae family that also includes astilbe, foam flower (Tiarella), and coral bells (Heuchera).  It is native to rocky cliffs in eastern Asia including Siberia, northern mongolia, western China, and northern Korea.  Plants grow 1-2′ tall from a stout slow growing rhizome and form rosettes of leathery spoon-shaped leaves up to eight inches long.  The leaves are evergreen in warm climates where they may turn deep pink in winter.  Dense, nodding clusters of rose purple flowers are carried on leafless stems up to 18′ tall in spring, and as early as December in warm climates.  Plants are a good choice for edgings and groundcovers, and both leaves and flowers are good in bouquets.  The generic name, Bergenia, honors the 18th century  German physician and botanist, Karl August von Bergen.  The specific epithet, crassifolia), comes from the Latin words crassus meaning thick or fleshy, and folia, meaning leaf.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Dense, nodding clusters of rose purple flowers on leafless stems up to 18′ tall in spring

Size: 12-24″ H x 18″ W

Light:Part shade

Soil: Fertile, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 4-8

Care: Remove damaged foliage in late winter

Pests and Diseases: Slugs, snails

Propagation: Division, seed

Companion Plants:Lenten rose, Virginia bluebells, early bulbs such as crocus, snowdrops, and winter aconite



By Karen