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(Plant heights are given at maturity)

Bergenias are herbaceous perennial plants beloning to the Saxifrage family, Saxifragaceae. They have large attractive leaves and clusters of white blooms bornes on nearly leafless stalks. They make excellent border or bedding plants and work well in rock gardens or in gardens with dappled shade. They do well in most soils, but do best in a fairly rich well drained soil.

Plants can be propagated by digging and dividing existing plants in the spring or by sowing seeds. For best germination, cold stratify seeds for 2 weeks prior to sowing using one of the following methods.

COLD STRATIFICATION Natural cold stratification occurs when seeds fall from plants and experience the cold of winter for several months. You may choose to naturally stratify your seeds by sowing them outdoors in late fall in a prepared seed starting bed. To artificially cold stratify your seeds, follows these steps:

Soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water. Drain the water from the seed. Place a handful of sphagnum peat, vermiculite or other sterile moisture medium and in a zipperlock plastic bag. (Sphagnum peat is best for stratification as it contains anti-fungal properties.) Add enough water to thoroughly moisten the seed and allow it to rest for a couple of hours. Hold the bag upside down and squeeze out any excess water. Add the seed to the bag and shake to mix. Place the bag in a refigerator. An unheated outbuilding or garage will work as long as the temperature does not exceed 41 degrees F.

Check the bag about once a week. If you notice any mold forming inside the bag, remove the molded seed and throw them away. If the moisture mix appears to be dry, add enough water to moisten it and squeeze out any excess water, then re-seal the bag. Check the next day to make certain that no water is standing in the bag. If so, pour it out. If you notice any seeds sprouting, remove them and plant them.

Do not cold stratify a seed and then fall sow. Once the initial stratification is complete the seed is ready to germinate. If the outdoor temperature warms, the seed will germinate and then may be killed by the freezing temperatures of winter. In addition, once the seed has completed stratification, it is ready to start growing. In this state the seed will use up its energy reserves at a rapid rate and will have a much reduced shelf life at warmer or cooler temperatures.

After stratification seeds should be sown in pots, trays or a bed prepared with a soiless medium (1 part sand to 1 part sphagnum peat moss is fine) and covered lightly. The medium should be kept moist, but not soggy at about 70F. When seedlings reach a height of 2 inches, they should be transplanted to larger containers or directly outdoors, if the outdoor temperatures remain above 65F.

Varieties of bergenia are used as medicinal herbs to treat an array of ailments.

Bergenia ciliata Easter Joy Medicinal perennial flower  Easter Joy - Bergenia ciliata - Deep dark green leaves and soft pink blooms in spring. Medicinal plant with the leaves used to treat urinary problems and earaches. The roots are used to treat coughs, asthma, and fevers or fresh roots are crushed to eye problems. Partial shade. Height: 12 inches Hardy to -40F (-40C)
#5553   Packet   $6.50   Approximately 50 seeds

  Red Beauty - Bergenia cordifola - Bright red flower with dark evergreen foliage. Partial shade. Height: 18 inches Hardy to -40F (-40C)
#2623   Packet   $7.50   Approximately 50 seeds

Bergenia cordifola Winterglut   Winterglut (Winter Glow) - Bergenia cordifola - Green leaves turn mahogany brown in winter. Intense carmine red blooms in spring. Plant is high in tannins. Partial shade. Height: 18 inches Hardy to -40F (-40C)
#5554   Packet   $10.50   Approximately 50 seeds


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