If your garden needs a low maintenance, pollinator-friendly, hardy plant that brings some liveliness to your winter garden, then look no further. This Bergenia, also known as elephant’s ears, comes from Central Asia, growing in mountainous areas of Afghanistan and the Himalayas. This kind of climate sets its resilience to H7 meaning it can withstand severe European climates up to -20*C. Furthermore, it is robust and generally free from problems. Interestingly, this evergreen perennial is part of the Saxifrageae family, translating as ‘rock breaker’, which could refer to how easy these plants are to grow.
It grows well in full sun or partial shade, making it a versatile addition to any garden design. For example, it can be used as ground cover for large gardens or in flower borders and beds in smaller city patios. Alternatively, Bergenia Cordifolia Purpurea creates a magenta cushion underneath roses and shrubs, keeping unwanted weeds out of the way and protecting other roots and tender small plants from frost.
Ideally, it can be planted in humus rich soils, moist but well drained. However, the clumps of large, rounded, deep green leaves which become purple in winter, will acquire deeper hues the poorer the soil is. It blooms between March and April bringing a spring ‘pop’ your garden with its bright cerise-pink flowers, which are held in in erect clusters on red stems and can reach up to 50cm in height.
Finally, its worth noting that this plant is toxic to dogs.