Cheery colour early in the season
Bergenia ‘Sakura’ offers bunches of cherry blossom pink flowers in late winter and early spring, just when you are craving colour after the bleak of winter.
Semi double flowers are tightly clustered in heads on strong, 25cm. stems where they show so well above the thick carpets of lovely foliage.
‘Sakura’ means cherry blossom in Japanese, and the lovely coral pink shades in the flower heads does remind of the delicate beauty of cherry blossoms.
Bergenia ‘Sakura’ is a newly developed, dwarf variety and its compact neat growth makes it perfect for smaller gardens or decorative pots.
It is a welcome new addition for the large size of the flower bunches; on a compact foliage rosette; that colours vivid plums, purples and reds in winter.
While the flowers are lovely – it is really all about the foliage
Vivid winter foliage shades are a special treat when little else has colour
Bergenia leaves remain evergreen all year, but really become a wonderful feature in winter. Cold weather promotes a symphony of reds, burgundies and plum shades, and they simply revel in frost.
During the warm months the handsome heart shaped leaves are deep green, glossy, and leathery tough. They form neat handsome rosettes all year round.
Bergenias are renowned for their toughness and hardiness in far from ideal conditions.
Tough & tolerant of a wide range of conditions
Part Shade to Full Shade is best though not essential. Bergenia are very hardy, and often chosen for Dry Shade or Deep Shade gardens, where they cope extremely well under big old trees and shrubs.
However they are tough enough to also grow in Sun, though the leaves will not be as large or lush, and may scorch. They much prefer shade in hot areas, where they can tolerate periods of dry very well.
Bergenia accept a wide range of soils, including poor soil. They are happy in soils from sandy to clay, with pH from acid to alkaline lime. Prime performance is in humus rich soil with average, normal moisture, but they really don’t mind much if you cannot provide.
They are a wise choice for seaside and coastal gardens, as the leathery, waxy leaves make them tolerant of salt laden winds.
Bergenia are not thirsty plants, and can tolerate periods of dry very well because they have such fleshy, robust root systems to store water and nutrients effectively.
Tough, weed suppressing ground-cover
Bergenia look wonderful planted as a ground-cover carpet. Several plants massed can completely cover the ground surface with lush foliage, so weeds are blocked. Bergenia is not invasive.
This makes Bergenia indispensable as binding plants for banks and slopes in shaded areas. They have such solid root systems to very effectively bind the soil from slipping. While the complete foliage cover means you don’t have to be down on hands and knees weeding on the slope.
Low maintenance & undemanding
Bergenia are very low maintenance plants, needing little if ever attention, so again no need for you to go scrambling about on the slope. A tidy up after winter is all the maintenance required (and they won’t care if you forget).
They are renowned as being undemanding, and virtually disease and pest free.
Where to use in the garden
Bergenia are a wise choice for planting under trees and shrubs; in dry shade or deeply shaded gardens; on banks and slopes that need a binding groundcover; as an evergreen edge for a shaded garden or path; and gravel gardens. They are a traditional choice for decorative pots and urns because of their tough health, interest all year round, and lush look despite poor conditions.
They look marvellous mixed with hostas as foliage contrast.
Lovely in garden & vase
Both the showy flower Heads, and the beautiful leaves, make excellent cut flowers for vases indoors.
– Height with flowers: 25cm.
– Width: 60cm.
– Position: Part Shade to Full Shade is best. However they are tough enough to grown in Sun, though the leaves will not be as large or lush, and may scorch. They put up a very creditable performance almost anyway, including Dry Shade.
– Soil: Accept a wide range of soils, from sandy to clay, with pH from acid to alkaline lime. Prime performance is in humus rich soil with average, normal moisture. They are not thirsty plants, and can tolerate periods of dry very well because they have such fleshy, robust root systems which store water and nutrients effectively.
– Fragrance: Most Bergenia, including ‘Sakura’ have little or no scent.
– Frost: Very frost hardy and resilient. Cold temperatures and poor soil brings out even better winter colour.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Abundant, early season flowers are a big help to bees and butterflies. They are rich in both nectar and pollen.
– Care: Very low maintenance, hardy and easy.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: The leathery leaves are not attractive to rabbits or deer.
– Origin: Bergenia hail from the east, from central Asia, Afghanistan and China, where it grows in woodlands and rocky outcrops.
– Myths & Legends: Has acquired many common names, but one of the most unusual must surely be “pig squeak”, because of the noise produced when you rub a leaf between thumb and finger. Kids love trying it.
Other common names include “elephant’s ears” – referring to the shape of the leaves, and “red hearts” – referring to the vivid winter colours of the leaves.
The Bergenia genus is named after German botanist and physician Karl August von Bergen who was a great plant collector and author.