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
View this plant in a garden



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Laguna Niguel, 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

Grand Rapids, Michigan

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 18, 2015, handone from Rathdrum, ID wrote:

I grow this plant in North Idaho. It receives full sun to about noon, then is shaded. It gets huge stalks with pretty pink blooms. As the season progresses in to mid summer, the leaves turn a bright burgundy to red color, when most other plants are looking fairly dead. It remains this color till the snow flies. I gently pull the spent flower stalk completely, out of the ground which if the ground is moist some roots & 2 or 3 leafs will be attached, if dry the stalk will just break. I then plant it 10 to 12 inches from any other plant, in wet soil & keep it moist then by next spring I have beautiful new plants. Or give some to my neighbors. Doing this, helps to keep it from being root bound , over crowded, & it very seldom then, needs divided. It is a easy maintenance plant providi... read more


On Aug 12, 2015, 47jardin from Laguna Niguel, CA wrote:

I have two varieties of bergenia, one very large ruffled leaf and a few regular ones. I am curious about whether I can cut off the head and replant it. Also will the remaining stump sprout?


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

This is a beautiful plant where well grown.

I have seen 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).

The early spring flowers are attractive, but this is grown more for its evergreen foliage, which turns an attractive bronze/burgundy in cold weather, but winter damage to the leaves is considerable in most winters, spoiling the appearance even as far south as Z7.

I also rarely see plants without many 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. (Slugs and snails might be the cause, too.) Perhaps this, not climate, is the reason this plant usually fails ... read more


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 g... read more


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?


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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... read more