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How to grow Bergenia (ber-gen-i-a)

Named for Karl August von Bergen, 1704-60, German botanist (Saxifragaceae). These hardy perennial herbaceous plants with large evergreen leaves were at one time called megasea, and were at another time included with the saxifrages. The flowers which come in early spring are showy in white, pink or red-purple, borne in large heads on long stems. The large leathery, glossy leaves are also decorative, especially as in some kinds the foliage is suffused with reddish colour in winter.

Species cultivated B. cordifolia, 1 foot, pink, spring; var. purpurea, flowers purplish-pink. B. crassifolia, 1 foot, pink, spring. B. delavayi, 9 inches, leaves turn crimson in winter, flowers purplish-rose, March, B. ligulata, 1 foot, white or pink, January or February onwards, B. x schmidtii, 1 foot, flowers pink spring. B. stracheyi, 1 foot, pink, April.

Cultivars `Ballawley Hybrid', 14 feet, crimson flowers, dark purplish leaves in winter. `Delbees', 1 foot, leaves turn red in winter, flowers rosy, March—April. `Evening Glow', 15-18 inches,%dark purple flowers, reddish-bronze foliage. `Silberlichf , (`Silver Light'), 1 foot, flowers white flushed pink, spring. Others are available and more are likely to be seen in cultivation as time goes on.

Cultivation These members of the saxifrage family are in no way difficult, thriving in any soil, in sun or shade. However, to get full colour in the winter leaves (and this can be very fine), it will be necessary to give the bergenias full sun exposure; and under those conditions they will also produce their flowers somewhat earlier.

 



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