BERGENIA Large-leaved Saxifrage

Bergenia is a splendid ground cover for a herbaceous or mixed border. It thrives under shrubs and trees, spreads rapidly when the conditions are favourable and provides colour nearly all year round. The large and leathery leaves are bright green, turning red in autumn. Above them rise the flower-heads in spring, Hyacinth-like spikes bearing white, pink, red or purple bell-shaped flowers. It will grow in all types of soils, including wet peats and dry chalks.

VARIETIES: The basic species is B. cordifolia – height 1.5 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.

Flowering period: March-April. The deep pink flowers are borne in drooping sprays – the variety purpurea has pale purple flowers. B. crassifolia, a similar species, bears upright flower-heads. Nowadays a number of named hybrids are available – make your choice from this group. Amongst the best are B. ‘Ballawley’ (rose-red), B. ‘Silberlicht’ (white, tinged pink) and B. ‘Sunningdale’ (deep lilac).

SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or partial shade.

PROPAGATION: When plants are large and overcrowded, divide the clumps in autumn.

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