Content Detail

Bergenia has large, shiny leaves that look best when planted en masse, either as a groundcover or a border. The leaves are semi-evergreen and turn burgundy in the fall. The rosy to pale pink flowers show above the leaves in early spring. The plant got the name ‘pigsqueak’ because rubbing a leaf together between your fingers sounds like a pig squeaking.

  • Family (English) Saxifrage
  • Family (botanic) Saxifragaceae
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Medium plant (12-24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Road salt
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Pink
  • Shape or form Mounded
  • Growth rate Slow


Heart-leaf bergenia grows 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. It spreads slowly by rhizomes.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This plant is native to south Asia and India.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Bergenia attracts hummingbirds.

Leaf description: 

The round leaves are thick, heart-shaped, leathery, and shiny. They grow in semi-evergreen rosettes which turn burgundy in the fall.

Flower description: 

The pink flowers appear in mid spring. The flower buds are not as cold-hardy as the leaves and may be damaged by cold.

Fruit description: 

The plant forms a showy, red capsule in mid-summer.

Plant care: 

Plant bergenia in full sun to part-shade. In full sun, bergenia will need extra moisture. It prefers moist, fertile soils, but is tolerant of a range of soil types, with the exception of its intolerance to wet soils. Deadhead to the ground in early spring rather than in the fall to keep the plant from heaving in the winter.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

Bergenia is relatively low-maintenance with few pest problems. The leaves may be damaged during difficult winters and need to be cut to the ground. It is resistant to deer and rabbits.

Winter Glow Pigsqueak (Bergenia “Winter Glow”):  

Growing 12 to 18 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide, Winter Glow bergenia has a dark pink flower.


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