Imposing elephant's ears!
Bergenia 'Bressingham White' is a vigorous rhizomatous perennial forming a clump of broad, deep-green, oval, evergreen leaves(*) topped by an abundant spring flowering (March-April) of clusters of white flowers. Really fabulous planted en masse as ground cover under fruit trees (apple, cherry) or, more subtly, with the delicate fronds of ferns.
(*) The plant keeps its colour in winter.
The Bergenia genus is native to Central and Eastern Asia (Nepal, Himalayas and Siberia) and belongs to the Saxifragaceae family. It has six species and many cultivars. Bergenia – commonly known as elephant’s ears, pigsqueak or large rockfoil – was very popular in the 19th century, but is definitely not so much in vogue these days. Yet it deserves to be more widely grown for the beauty of its early flowers and lovely evergreen foliage.
It is rhizomatous and over time forms beautiful, big clumps of leaves which are dark green in the summer and then take on warmer colours as winter approaches. Some varieties are semi-evergreen in winter. They all produce a delightful spring flowering of bunches of little bells, from deep pink to pure white.
It has several uses in the garden. You can plant it:
- en masse under spring-flowering deciduous trees;
- aligned to form edging or to define a patch;
- in a partial shade bed, combined with hellebores, pulmonaria, primula or spring-flowering bulbs (Anemone nemorosa, Galanthus, daffodils);
- in a pot or trough to accompany the light habit of a grass (Carex).
Please don’t take advantage of Bergenia’s stamina to plant her in a terrible spot where few other plants could survive! Rather grow her in good, light garden soil, which is well-drained in winter and moderately dry in summer with light shade or non-scorching summer sun.
Maintenance: prune the floral stems and dried leaves. Divide the clumps every four years.
Bergenia crassifolia L. - Step, E., Bois, D.,
Favourite flowers of garden and greenhouse
vol. 2: t. 89 (1896-1897) - archive.org
- 0,7 litre pot
- Hardiness zones : zone 7-10
- Height: 30 to 50cm
- Plant spacing: 50 cm
- Flower colour: white
- Flowering period: spring flowers