Rodgersia is a wise choice if you have a large border to fill and want a plant which bears bold and colourful leaves as well as summer flowers. The blooms are tiny, appearing in plumelike spikes, and the large divided leaves give Rodgersia an exotic look. It is slow growing, requiring both light shade and moist soil to make it feel at home. Add plenty of compost, leaf mould or peat at planting time and mulch around the leaves in spring. Water in dry weather and cut back the stems in autumn.

VARIETIES: If you can grow only one variety then choose R. pinnata superba – height 3-4 ft. Spacing 4 ft.

Flowering period: July-August. The toothed and divided leaves are bronze-coloured when young and the flowers are deep pink. R. aesculifolia is somewhat similar, its large Horse Chestnut-like leaves displaying a metallic bronzy sheen but its flowers are white. Other garden species include R. podophylla (3-4 ft. cream flowers) and the largest-leaved Rodgersia of all – R. tabularis (3-4 ft. white flowers).

SITE AND SOIL: Any moisture-retentive soil will do – thrives best in partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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