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Rodgersia - Growing Guide

Caring for Rodgersia

Rodgersia are tough, vigorous, clump forming rhizomatous perennials usually, but by no means always, found growing in damper parts of the garden near ponds or streams. They will however grow equally well in more shady parts of the garden well away from water and they naturalise well on the periphery of a woodland garden in open glades and dappled sunlight.

These plants grow beside streams in China, Korea and Japan and all have long stalked palmate or pinnate leaves. In June, July and August they produce tall shoots of star shaped petalless flowers which are white or pink in large fluffy pyramidical panicles.

When grown in pots in the nursery they seldom begin to perform to their full potential and the flowers produced are only a fraction of the size they can achieve in the garden. Few weeds will thrive in an area where good clumps of rodgersia have become well established.

Rodgersia dislike drought and prefer humus rich soils. Slugs can be a problem as the leaves first emerge but, once established, the leaves become too coarse for them to enjoy.

Propagation is simple by division of the clumps when dormant in early spring. The dense rhizomes can simply be chopped with a spade or pulled gently apart to leave a plant with a good central node in the rhizome to produce the new growth.

R. aesculifolia grows up to 6ft with horse chestnut like palmitic leaves of up to 10in long. The flowers are white or pink.

R. pinnata is perhaps the most popular species at Burncoose with pinnate or palmate leaves that are heavily veined and crinkled. This species grows to around 6ft with (usually) pink or red flowers and bronzy new growth.

R. podophylla also has palmate lobed leaves and grows to around 5ft. The flowers are creamy green with a distinct panicle shape.

R. sambucifolia is smaller growing to around 3ft and has elder-like pinnate leaves. Its flowers are white or pink and the panicles of flowers arch at the tips. This makes this species quite obviously identifiable when in flower.


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