Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Heartleaf Bergenia, Pigsqueak
Bergenia cordifolia

Family: Saxifragaceae (saks-ih-frag-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bergenia (ber-GEN-ee-a) (Info)
Species: cordifolia (kor-di-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Megasea cordifolia
Synonym:Saxifraga cordifolia

One vendor has this plant for sale.

24 members have or want this plant for trade.

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12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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8 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Dec 5, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is a beautiful plant where well grown.

I see many in this area, and most do not thrive. It has never thrived for me. In my experience, it seems to lack vigor in this climate (Boston Z6a).

I also rarely see plants without disfiguring notches eaten from the edges of the leaves. I suspect black vine weevil is the culprit, and that it's in the pots at the nurseries. Perhaps this, not climate, is the reason this plant usually fails to thrive here.

Called pigsqueak because of the sound you can make by rubbing a leaf just right between thumb and forefinger.

Positive akcrafter On Jul 1, 2010, akcrafter from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

I grew bergenia in my shade garden in Anchorage for many years. Bergenia did not seem to like spruce a lot, but didn't die. Just kind of hunkered down determinedly. They tolerate cold and snow, often showing their flowers before the snow is all gone in Anchorage. Under birch they were absolutely huge and enthusiastic spreaders, in an area that few other plants seemed to like. Now I live in Philadelphia PA and found some last year to put in sun and shade areas to see how they grow here. They seem happy in both part shade and morning sun. I was pessimistic about their ability to thrive here as I was told by some local gardeners that bergenia were not common here. Mine are happy campers, making a lovely border for my fern and shade perennial garden. The lovely leathery leaves are a great contrast to other plants such as barberry, spirea, yarrow, lamb's ear, dianthus, salvia, geranium, lilies, lavender, rudbeckia, and penstemmon. Their least attractive feature in my opinion are the flowers, which have a thickish, gaudy appearance. They can be divided and transplanted easily. If you like their look they are a definite keeper.

Neutral bonehead On Jan 23, 2010, bonehead from Cedarhome, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I will try to like this plant more. I've had it in my front garden for many years and mostly find it to be a squatty thing with gaudy pink flowers. I think I'll divide it and let it have more of a presence and see if I warm up to it. I do like the common name, pigsqueak - does anyone know where that originated?

Positive stormyla On Nov 23, 2009, stormyla from Norristown, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

These plants make a wonderful addition to the front of the shade border. They can get fungus if the weather is too wet. Spray with fungicide and it will clear up as the weather dries out. The early spring blooms are wonderful. Unfortunately, my bunnies keep confusing them with giant cabbages!

Positive mslehv On Oct 29, 2009, mslehv from Columbus, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I originally purchased several of these plants in 1991 and transplanted them twice, most recently this spring. Much to my surprise, one bloomed in mid-August. This was in part sun. Another, in full sun, bloomed at the end of August. We'll see what happens next year, whether the bloom time normalizes.

Positive TBGDN On May 13, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I saw this plant potted in a quart container at a local nursery. Its shiny green leaves had a feel of leather, and were quite attractive. That was over six years ago. Today it is in the same shade garden where it was originally planted. It has increased laterally with new growth spreading in all directions. The leaves take a beating in our severe winters, but although tattered and somewhat ragged looking the plant thrives seemingly on neglect.

Positive pokerboy On Jul 23, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have watered this plant just 3 times from early spring till early winter and it thrived!!! Considering this summer was extremely dry and hot, I consider this plant very hardy!!! Now it is shooting it's Hot pink flowers up into the air that last quite a long time in a vase. I NEVER fertilize it!!! I love this plant so much!!! It is so good for beginners. pokerboy.

Positive WeedPuhler On Jun 9, 2004, WeedPuhler from Edmonton, Canada

An often over looked and wrongly planted perennial in our St. Albert, Alberta neighbourhood, I bought this plant for the hard to landscape shade under our poplar... It did not die off during our harsh winter (+3-4 ft. of snow at all times). It GREW! It covered our Asiatic lily to the point I could not see it coming up until yesterday! A siberian native, it dislikes full sun, and WILL NOT BLOOM if too hot. But under the tree, planted with some sheep manure and peat moss ammended soil, front row, it is blooming the tallest, hot pink flowers!

Positive akgriff On May 26, 2004, akgriff from Anchorage, AK wrote:

We moved into a new house this fall. This spring when the snow melted, all five feet of it, there were these large green leaves flattened by the snow. Within a week they perked up and 3 weeks later they were blooming. I was amazed to find green leaves after six months under the snow in Alaska.

Positive lupinelover On May 30, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

Species bergenia thrives where most other plants fail in my garden. Its flowering is hit-or-miss, depending on growing conditions, but the foliage is very attractive, and resists damage from slugs.

As the plant becomes over-crowded with crowns, it is very simple to cut the plant apart and replant. The remaining stems attached to the root can be left in place to produce new leaves.

Neutral Terry On Mar 9, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

I grew Bergenia from seed two years ago (my brain just wouldn't let my heart buy the gallon-sized pots for $8 each.) It was tiny the first year, a little bigger the next, and is finally coming into its own in its third season (as is the case with most perennials.)

It has survived my clay soils, some benign neglect in the hottest part of summer, and being transplanted whenever I decided I'd plunk it elsewhere.

Bergenia has a lot going for it - thick glossy evergreen foliage that sometimes has a bronzed or purple hue. Thick flower stems emerge from the crown of the plant bearing clusters of single pink blooms in late spring and summer. Plants are long-lived and do best in well-drained soil that is not excessively fertile.

Foliage can become raggy over winter; you can remove to encourage new growth.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska (2 reports)
Juneau, Alaska
Seward, Alaska
Clayton, California
Fort Bragg, California
Glen Avon, California
Merced, California
Sacramento, California
Salinas, California
Simi Valley, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Lewiston, Idaho
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Winnetka, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
Marshalltown, Iowa
Taylorsville, Kentucky
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Sandwich, Massachusetts
Ludington, Michigan
Scottville, Michigan
Isle, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Lincoln, Nebraska
New York City, New York
Schenectady, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Grove City, Ohio
Williamsburg, Ohio
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Albion, Pennsylvania
Norristown, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2 reports)
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Gainesboro, Tennessee
Johnson City, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Leesburg, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Olympia, Washington
Spokane, Washington (2 reports)
Stanwood, Washington
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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