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Plant Answer Line Question
I am trying to find out the difference between Bergenia Winterglut, elephant ears, and Bergemia pig squeak. The landscape plan I am following calls for the pig squeak, but I could only find elephant ears. Is Winterglut something special?
I think that the confusion arises from the fact that 'pig squeak' is a common name for Bergenia, as is 'elephant ears,' while 'Winterglut' is part of a cultivar name (Bergenia cordifolia 'Winterglut'). Bergemia with an "m" in the middle is just a typographical error. 'Winterglut' is also known as 'Winter Glow.' See the excerpt from Greer Gardens Nursery catalog below:
BERGENIA - PIG SQUEAK - (-40 F, USDA Zones 3-8) Bergenia are tolerant of a wide variety of conditions but soil that is too rich can cause soft foliage. Providing the plant with poorer soil conditions and some exposure, you will enhance the winter color. This plant prefers some shade, but will thrive in full sun if soil is deep and moist enough. Not for south Florida or the Gulf Coast.
30047 'Bressingham Ruby' - The mound of rounded, deep green leaves are up to 8" long. The foliage is maroon on the underside, and will turn beet red in the winter. In the spring, flowers of a very intense red are borne on nodding cymes. Will get 1' tall.
30965 'Bressingham White' - Has large, dark green foliage which is adorned by blooms that start out light pink and then fade to a pure white. They reach 12-15'' in height and blooms appear in the spring.
31673 ciliata - (-20 F, USDA Zones 5-8) Large (12'') fuzzy, rounded leaves and white flowers in early spring make this deciduous Chinese species a standout. Part shade and moisture retentive soil. Low growing to 10''.
cordifolia - (-30 F, USDA Zones 4-8)
31562 'Eroica' - Dark purple flowers in early spring. Foliage changes from light green to deep copper in fall, then a brownish red after first frost.
31035 'Winter Glow' - Deep reddish pink flowers bloom in spring, held above evergreen leaves. In the winter the leaves turn deep red. Will be 1' in height.
From Thimble Farms in British Columbia:
Bergenia `Winterglut' Ht.45cm. Z2. Thick clusters of florescent red flowers and dark green foliage . Fantastic red fall highlights
"A good plant nearly impossible to kill is Bergenia, named for the 18th Century German botanist Karl August von Bergen. It is called Elephant Ears because it has giant round or heart-shaped leaves. My grandparents called Bergenias the Elephant Plant, because if an elephant stomped on it, it wouldn't die. But I notice the Sunset Guide only calls it by its scientific name, giving it no common name at all, so Elephant Ears may be somewhat a regional name, & Elephant Plant just the name our family used without authority.
"We get good red winter colors on our B. cordifolia 'Winterglut' & B. cordifolia 'Abendglocken.' The first photo at the top of this page shows both of these when they were first stuck into the hillside as tiny starts. In that early-April 2002 photo, the 'Abendglocken' on the left has already turned from red back to green & is starting to bloom, showing a glint of color in its buds. But 'Winterglut' on the right still shows a chocolaty-colored leaf, which began to green shortly after photographed."
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Plant Answer Line Question
What is the pest that eats little notches around my Bergenia and Heuchera? What can I do to prevent this?
It is possible your Bergenia and Heuchera are being nibbled by black vine weevils or strawberry root weevils. Usually you would begin to notice the damage in mid-spring. The notches won't kill your plants, but if you have a lot of black vine weevils and plants appear to be wilting, you may want to attempt to control the larvae. Spraying beneficial nematodes (Steinernema) on the surrounding soil may also help.
Below are links to information about weevils:
Black Vine Weevil from UMass Extension
Black Vine Weevils from University of California's Integrated Pest Management site
Strawberry Root Weevil from the Pacific Northwest Insect Management Handbook
A document about Black Vine Weevil (and other root weevils) from Ohio State University Extension
"Adults that feed along leaf margins produce typical crescent shaped notches. Careful searches should be made to try and locate specimens since several other weevils and some caterpillars can produce this same type of notching. Moderate to light notching seems to have little effect on plant health.
"Black vine weevils are oblong oval in shape, about 1/2-inch long and have a short, broad snout with elbowed antennae. The body is slate grey to blackish brown and the wing covers have numerous small pits and short hairs. This pest is difficult to distinguish from other Otiorhynchus weevils. The strawberry root weevil is usually half the size of the black vine weevil, and more brown in color. The rough strawberry root weevil is only slightly smaller than the black vine weevil but the collar just behind the head, the pronotum, is heavily pitted.
"Female weevils emerge from soil pupation chambers late May to early July. These weevils must feed on plant material for 21 to 45 days before they are ready to lay eggs. After the preoviposition period has passed, the females place several eggs each day into the soil or leaf litter nearby suitable host plants. The weevils hide during the daytime at the base of plants or in mulch and leaf litter near food plants. Adults may live 90 to 100 days and usually lay 200 eggs during this time. The eggs hatch in two to three weeks and the small C-shaped, legless larvae feed on plant rootlets. The larvae grow slowly over the summer, molting five to six times. By late fall the larvae have matured and are about 5/8-inch long. The mature larvae enter a quiescent prepupal stage in an earthen cell and pupate the following spring. A single generation occurs each year.
"Strategy 1: Habitat Modification - Egg and larval survival is helped when soil moisture is moderate to high in July and August. Heavy mulches also help maintain critical moisture levels. Remove excessive mulch layers and do not water plants unless necessary. Excessively damp soils in the fall also force larvae to move up the base of the plant where girdling can occur. Properly maintain rain down spouts and provide for adequate drainage of soil around plants.
"Strategy 2: Biological Control Using Parasitic Nematodes - The entomopathogenic nematodes, Steinernema and Heterorhabditis spp., have been effective for controlling black vine weevil larvae, especially in potted plants. Sufficient water must be used during application to wash the infective nematodes into the soil and root zone. If the nematodes are to be used in landscape plantings, remove a much of the mulch as possible and thoroughly wet the remaining thatch and soil before and after the nematode application. Applications of the nematodes in landscapes has produced variable results."
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April 11 2017 13:50:16