How to Grow Bergenia Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Siberian Tea and Elephant's Ears

Bergenia is a hardy perennial that flowers from the late spring until the early Summer.

It is also referred to by the names Siberian Tea, Elephant's Ears, Mongolian Tea, The Baden, and Pig Squeak.

The plant may grow up to 18 inches (45 cm) in size and bears small, clustered, trumpet shaped flowers of white or pink.

Siberian Tea is best used as an edging plant.

Bergenia cordifolia
Bergenia cordifolia (Heartleaf Bergenia) photograph by Gravitat~on.

How to Grow Bergenia

When planting Bergenia outdoors it is best to sow out the seeds on the surface in the early spring

It is important to sow out Siberian tea and similar species before the last frost, as it requires this cold period for germination.

If you plan to grow Bergenia indoors first then the seeds should first be placed in moist soil, placed in a plastic bag, and refrigerated for two weeks before shifting to the light.

Growth of Bergenia should then continue at a temperature of 15 to 21 degrees Celsius.

It usually takes from one to six months for this garden plant to germinate.

Seedlings should then be transplanted outdoors into an area of full sunlight or a lightly shaded part of the garden.

They should be spaced out at a distance of 30 to 45 cm in moist soil, with an ideal a pH of between 6 and 7.

Bergenia crassifolia
Bergenia crassifolia (Siberian Tea) by Eric Hunt.

Caring for Bergenia in the Garden

Bergenia should be lightly fertilized in the spring, and kept well watered.

The use of slug pellets is highly recommend and dead parts of the plant should be removed regularly.

Bergenia Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Bergenia: Leather; Heartleaf; Purpurea; Superba; Autumn red. Siberian tea, Pig Squeak, Elephant’s ears, The Baden.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 12 to 20 inches (30 to 50 cm).
Native: Central Asia.
Family: Saxifragaceae.

Growing Region: Zones 2 to 8.
Flowers: Late spring through to early summer.
Flower Details: Pink, white. Small. Cyme. Clustered. Trumpets.
Foliage: Evergreen. Leathery. Round, spoon-like. Green or Bronze, turn red or bronze in the autumn.

Sow Outside: Surface. Start of spring - before the last frost, or towards the end of autumn. Spacing 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm).
Sow Inside: Mix seeds in a moist growing medium, place in a freezer bag, then stratify by refrigeration for two weeks. Germination time: two weeks to six months. Temperature 60 to 70°F (15 to 21°C). Six weeks to two months before expected last frost. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements: Full sunlight in cooler areas; partial or light shade in warm areas. Soil pH 6.0 to 7.5. Humus rich soil, moist soil. Dry soil may stunt growth. Protect from wind in areas known to be hit by winter storms. Regular watering. Provide low nitrogen feed in the spring. Tidy dead leaves and flowers. Protect from slugs. Propagate: divide every three years to maintain vigor and to create new plants; cuttings in the spring.
Miscellaneous: Can tolerate extreme temperatures and large fluctuations.

Common Questions

How many members does the Bergenia genus have?

The Bergenia genus includes around 10 species.

Do members of Bergenia make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Bergenia is often used in landscaping for its year-round interest, including pink spring flowers and burgundy winter foliage.

Which Bergenia species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Bergenia cordifolia (Heartleaf Bergenia).

Are members of the Bergenia plant genus fragrant?

No, Bergenia plants are not known for their fragrance, but for their attractive flowers and foliage.

What is the perfect location to grow Bergenia?

Bergenia prefers a location with partial to full shade and well-drained, fertile soil.

Is Bergenia invasive in the USA?

Currently, Bergenia is not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Bergenia plants from my garden?

Removing Bergenia involves carefully digging around the roots, loosening the soil, and lifting the plant out.


The Bergenia genus belongs to the Saxifragaceae family, often found in East Asia, especially the Himalayas. Known as elephant's ears due to their large, leathery leaves, these evergreen perennials also produce bell-shaped flowers in spring.

To cultivate Bergenia, plant them in early spring or fall in an area with full sun to partial shade. They prefer well-drained, fertile soil and consistent watering. However, they are tolerant of various soil conditions and can withstand periods of drought, making them a robust choice for any garden.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Bergenia. You may also enjoy the following growing guides: How to grow Pimpinella and Saxifrage plants.