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Bold, Shade-Loving Rodgersias

Their beefiness rivals any tropical, but these dependable perennials are actually quite hardy

Fine Gardening – Issue 179

Plant-Trial Results


Some plants need time to grow on you, while others take hold from the start—the draw might be flower color, foliar texture, or something intrinsic. Where rodgersias are concerned, their large, corrugated leaves were the hook for me. Given the paucity of perennials with bold-textured foliage for northern gardens —gunnera (Gunnera manicata, Zones 7-10) is too tender, butterbur (Petasites japonicus, Zones 5- 9) is too weedy, and ligularias (Ligularia spp. and cvs., Zones 4-9) are too often finicky—rodgersias are well-mannered, cold-hardy alternatives that fill the niche beautifully. Our trial sprung from the misconception that rodgersias were marginally hardy in Chicago—a “fact” that I’d heard for too many years—and that rodgersias were connoisseur plants for expert gardeners only. Happily, the trial debunked these myths, proving that rodgersias are so dependable that everyone should have at least one—if you can stop at one.


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