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How to Grow Rodgersia 

Rodgersia blooming
Pink blossoming Rodgersia

Rodgersia are large, imposing plants with divided finger-like leaves and tall stems that bear star-shaped petalless, white or pink flowers in large, fluffy, pyramidal panicles. The leaves turn yellow to bronze in autumn. Rodgersia is a perennial that grows 4 to 6 feet tall.

Grow Rodgersia in a moist border, a bog garden, or near water. Rodgersia can be naturalized at woodland margins or along shaded streams. Rodgersia prefers partial shade; it can grow in full sun in cool summer regions.

Rodgersia is a genus of six species of vigorous, clump-forming rhizomatous perennials. Rodgersia is native to moist woodland and scrub and streamsides in the mountains of Myanmar, China, Korea, and Japan.

Get to Know Rodgersia 

  • Plant type: Rhizomatous perennial 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 5 to 8 
  • Hardiness: Hardy to Zone 5
  • Height and width: Varies, but most are 4-6 feet (1-2m) tall and 3 feet (1m) wide.
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Form and habit: Clump-forming 
  • Foliage: Large, long-stalked, palmate or pinnate, sometimes bronze-tinted, basal leaves, in some species turning shades of red and brown in autumn; leaves are compound, with leaflets arranged in a palmate or pinnate fashion, and often distinctively textured 
  • Flowers: Tall stems bear star-shaped, petalless, white or pink flowers, each .25-.4 inch (6-9mm) across, in large, fluffy, pyramidal panicles 
  • Fruits: Dark red or brown, capsular fruits 
  • Bloom time: Summer 
  • Uses: Grow near water, in a bog garden, moist border, or use for naturalizing at woodland margins 
  • Garden companions: Other clump-forming shade plants such as meadow rue, great Solomon’s seal, cardinal flower, bugbane, and azure monkshood 
  • Common name: Fingerleaf Rodgersia 
  • Botanical name: Rodgersia 
  • Family name: Saxifragaceae 
  • Origin: Myanmar, China, Korea, and Japan 

Where to Plant Rodgersia 

  • Plant Rodgersia in full sun or partial shade. 
  • Plant Rodgersia in humus-rich, moist soil. 
  • Rodgersia resent drought, but will tolerate drier conditions with more shade.  
  • Rodgersia are dormant in winter; provide winter mulch in cold climates. 
Rodgersia
Rodgersia

When to Plant Rodgersia 

  • Sow Rodgersia seed in containers in a cold frame in spring. 
  • Set container-grown Rodgersia in the garden in spring or autumn.

Planting and Spacing Rodgersia 

  • Space Rodgersia 3 feet (1m) apart.
  • Rodgersia are difficult to move; watch for wilting. 

How to Water and Feed Rodgersia 

  • Give Rodgersia ample water. 
  • Feed Rodgersia with an all-purpose organic fertilizer in spring. 

How to Care for Rodgersia 

  • Deadheading Rodgersia will not stimulate additional bloom; self-sowing is not a problem. However, deadheading improves the plant’s appearance.  
  • Cut Rodgersia back in late fall or early spring.  

Rodgersia Pests and Diseases 

  • Rodgersia can develop slugs; otherwise, Rodgersia are usually pest free. 
Robinia viscosa
Robinia viscosa

Rodgersia Propagation 

  • Divide Rodgersia in early spring. 
  • Division is rarely needed.  

Rodgersia Varieties to Grow 

  • Rodgersia aesculifolia, Fingerleaf Rodgersia, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial producing horse-chestnut-like, palmate, crinkled, mid-green leaves, to 10 inches (25cm) long. The leaves have densely woolly, red-brown stalks and veins, and usually 7, sometimes 5-9, obovate, toothed leaflets. In midsummer, bears many star-shaped, white or pink flowers in large panicles, to 24 inches (60cm) long. To 6 feet (2m) tall and 3 feet (1m) wide. North China.  
  • R. pinnata, Fingerleaf Rodgersia, rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial producing pinnate, or partially pinnate or palmate, crinkled, heavily veined, glossy, dark green leaves, to 36 inches (90cm) long; leaves have reddish green stalks and 5-9 obovate-inversely-lance-shaped, yellowish white, pink, or red flowers in panicles 12-28 inches 930-70cm) long. To 4 feet (1.2m) tall and 30 inches (75cm) wide. China (Sichuan, Yunnan).  
  • R. podophylla, Bronze-leaved Rodgersia, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial with palmate leaves, to 16 inches (40cm) long, composed of usually 5 large, jagged, obovate, 3- to 5-lobed leaflets, crinkled and bronze when young, becoming smoother, glossy, and mid-green, with brown hairs. The leaves turn bronze-red in autumn. In mid- and late summer, bears star-shaped, creamy green flowers in panicles 12 inches (30cm) long. To 5 feet (1.5m) tall and 6 feet (1.8m) wide. Korea, Japan.  
  • R. sambucifolia, Elderberry Rodgersia, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennial with elder-like, pinnate, hairy, dark green leaves, to 30 inches (75cm) long, with usually 7, sometimes 3-11, oblong-lance-shaped, toothed leaflets. In early and midsummer, bears star-shaped, white or pink flowers in dense panicles, to 18 inches (45cm) long, arching at the tips. To 36 inches (90cm) tall and wide. West China. 

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