Bergenia Care

nickrosesnFebruary 14, 2014

I have inherited my grandparents garden and need some help with the Bergenia. This is the second season for me in the garden. Don't know how old they are, maybe 20/30 years. I don't think a lot was done with them. I'm wanting to turn this area into a part shade Butterfly/hummingbird garden area. I live is San Mateo, CA and once the Sun gets higher in the sky this part of the garden will get late morning/afternoon sun.

1.) How do I divide them, so I can thin/move them around so I can plant other things that will be for the Butterflies/hummingbird?
2.) What plants will do well with Bergenia and be inviting to Butterflies/Hummingbirds.

Nick Rose

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

are those current pix???

if so.. i would default to my number one rule:

NEVER move anything in flower ... or getting ready to flower ...

unless you are willing to cut the flowers off ...

flowers are a very heavy load on a root system ... and moving things.. stressing the beegeebees out of a plant .. is best done.. when the plant is as dormant as possible .. of which i dont know for your zone ...

that said.. everything can be moved with proper aftercare.. namely proper watering ... deep watering with near drying in between .... not just spraying the leaves ....

let me suggest.. that you make your plan.. and proceed forward... moving ONLY those plants that their space is needed ... leaving at least a few.. until the next proper dormant phase .... that way.. you will have a fail-safe of the heritage plants... if moving them at the wrong time matters ...

you will make great leaps in gardening.. doing things in the proper season.. regardless of the wish for instant gratification ...

good luck


    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 10:41AM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Those look very nice! I love bergenia! I get a few flowers here and there, nothing to write home about, but I don't mind, it's the foliage effect that I'm after. Yours are flowering so beautifully, though - I'm envious!

I haven't divided bergenia that I can recall, but I have broken them when tranplanting, and I just planted the broken bits and they grew just fine. These plants are T-O-U-G-H, you can transplant or divide anytime, really (at least I would assume so -- you're not dealing with "winter" in your zone, but perhaps you have a dry season during which not a good idea to be moving/dividing - ?). I do agree with Ken, though - wait until after flowering to try dividing.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 12:04PM
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Yes these are current pictures. Don't worry I was going to wait after the flowers were dead or wait until late summer/fall to move them.

I was just wondering what would go well with them. So there is some color during there non-flowering stage.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 3:28PM
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You have given me a lot of hope. I haven't had bergenias before and planted about 8-10 from left overs at our garden club plant sale. The plants looked good but 2014 will be the first time they will be here during bloom season.--Looking out at the yard which looks like a sepia photo with no color but neutrals and complete coverage of yard and pond with snow it's hard to imagine bloom time.

I'm glad I thought of garden web. It's perking me up!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 5:55PM
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Like I said these are probably 20/30 years old and I doubt they have been touched for the past 10 years. So they have been living in the wild.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2014 at 7:12PM
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river_crossroads z8b Central Louisiana

Beautiful! You might want to contact Kermit of Flowers by the Sea nursery in Elk, Calif. He specializes in salvia and other plants for hummingbirds and should know your climate. I bought Salvia guaranitica âÂÂAmistadâ from him last spring, a purple salvia that was a hot new item from Argentina and reportedly favored by hummingbirds.

My hummers liked Salvia guaranitica âÂÂVan Remsen,â which grew 7 ft tall. The kind of hummers that I got liked the height. Kermit should be able to help you with plants favored by the type of hummers and butterflies in your area.

âÂÂVan Remsenâ is a natural hybrid from the backyard of Dr. James Van Remsen, ornithologist at LSU Baton Rouge, blue in the shade, violet or purplish blue when it gets a lot of sun. I notice that Kermit carries it. A tall salvia at each end of your flowerbed might be nice with short dark purple spikes of another salvia in front of the bergenia. Sorry, I don't know enough about conditions to be of any real help. And a certain amount of sun in California might be quite different from the same amount elsewhere. Good luck!

I can't get these links to work, GW may be backing up right now.
Flowers by the Sea nursery, note listings that say attract both hummingbirds and butterflies, but double check on what is favored by your particular kind of hummers and types of butterflies:
GW has an excellent forum called Butterfly Gardens, wonderful FAQ with plants listed as host and nectar:
Regional guides for butterfly gardening:

This post was edited by river_crossroads on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 22:13

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:38AM
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