Bergenia or Pig Squeak is an evergreen perennial plant with leathery, heart shaped leaves. Leaves are usually glossy green but in colder regions they tend to turn red or bronze in the fall. In late spring or early summer, bright magenta flowers appear high above the foliage. Grow & Care for Pig Squeak!
They tend to re-bloom again in early fall. Bergenia grows best in full sun but can tolerate a little shade. They are easily grown in most soil types, but prefer a moist, humus soil. Do not let the soil dry out – this can stunt the growth of the plant.
The common name (Pig Squeak) comes from the noise it makes when 2 leaves are rubbed together.
Bergenia cordifolia, along with most other varieties of Pig Squeak are perennial in USDA Hardiness Zones: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Full Sun or Partial Shade
Mature Size of Bergenia
- Height: 12-16 inches (30-40 cm)
- Width: 12-18 inches (30-45 cm)
Using Bergenia in Garden Design
Bergenia are incredibly hardy, and reliably evergreen throughout nearly the entire continent. Plants form a low clump of bold, leathery green leaves, which often turn bronze during winter. Short stems of magenta-pink flowers rise above the shiny foliage in mid spring.
The winter leaves are a valuable addition to cut flower bouquets. Most effective when mass planted or used as an edging along a walkway. Tolerates a wide range of soil conditions, in both sun or part shade. Easily divided in spring or early fall.
If you’ve got a shady spot you want to brighten in your garden but you’re tired and bored with hostas, then Bergenia might be just the plant you’re looking for. Bergenia, also known as pigsqueak for the sound it makes when two leaves are rubbed together, fills that shady or dappled spot in your garden where so many flowers shy away.
Bergenia plant care takes very little time, as these are low-maintenance plants.
How to Care for a Bergenia Plant
Growing Bergenia loves shade and dappled sunlight, so choose a darker corner of the yard or a bed up against the house that rarely gets full sunlight. Plant them 12 to 18 inches apart early in the spring to fill the area without crowding them out.
Choose a spot with well-drained, moist soil, and add compost to the bed as needed. Watch for flowers in the early spring. Bergenia will grow a spike from 12 to 16 inches tall, and the tiny, bell-shaped blooms will cover the spikes in pink, white or purple flowers.
These flowers remain for a number of weeks, then begin to die off. Deadhead the spent blooms by snipping off the spikes once the flowers brown and begin to fall off. Remove any dead, brown leaves you find through the summer as part of your Bergenia plant care, but don’t chop off the plant in the fall.
Bergenia needs these leaves as food to survive through the winter, and many of them are evergreen. In the spring, search for dead leaves and remove them at that time. Bergenia is a slow grower, and only needs dividing once every three to five years. Once the center of the clump dies off and is empty, divide the plant into four pieces and plant each one separately.
Water the new plants thoroughly when you set them out, and only when the weather is particularly dry after that.