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Herbaceous Perennial

Bergenia 'Eric Smith'
  • RHS AGM
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

elephant's ears 'Eric Smith'

'Eric Smith' is outstanding for its winter leaf colour if not damaged by heavy frost. The crinkled leaves are bronze-tinted above, carmine-red below, held upright, becoming dark red in winter. Purplish-pink flowers may hide under leaves

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Pink Bronze Green
Summer Bronze Green
Autumn Bronze Green
Winter Red
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

North–facing or South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Saxifragaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Matforming
Genus

Bergenia are evergreen rhizomatous perennials with leathery, rounded leaves and dense, erect clusters of bell-shaped pink or white flowers in spring

Name status

Accepted

How to grow

Cultivation

Easy to grow in fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade; tolerant of dry shade or poor soil in an open exposed position. Good light conditions will enable the best leaf colour to develop. Mulch in autumn

Propagation

Divide deteriorating clumps or root rhizome sections from them in early spring. After flowering or in autumn, lift and sever new plantlets from the ends of the long rhizomes and replant, leaving the parent to flower. Plantlets should flower the next year

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Banks and slopes
  • Ground cover
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Remove faded flower spikes and older brown or damaged leaves in spring

Pests

Susceptible to vine weevil, leaf and bud eelworm, slugs and snails and some caterpillars

Diseases

Leaf spot may be a problem and dry brown rot may affect the rhizomes

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