Elephant Ears Bergenia Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
elephant's ears 'Dumbo'


Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo' is recognized for its distinctive large, rounded leaves that often have a slightly heart-shaped base. The foliage is lush and usually presents a glossy green appearance during the growing season. The leaves are known for their impressive size and can be quite showy, with a texture that feels somewhat hairy or fuzzy to the touch, thanks to the tiny hairs that cover their surface. In the colder months, the leaves of the 'Dumbo' can change to take on rich, bronze or reddish tones, providing an attractive seasonal display. This plant blooms with eye-catching flowers that rise above the foliage on sturdy stalks. The flowers typically appear in clusters, showcasing a beautiful hue that can range from pale pink to a deeper magenta. The overall appearance of the 'Dumbo' is one of lushness and vibrant growth, with large leaves setting a dramatic backdrop for the delicate and colorful blooms that appear in contrast. Its aesthetic is often described as being both bold and graceful, making it a popular choice for gardeners who wish to add a touch of drama and elegance to their planting arrangements.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Hairy Bergenia, Fringed Bergenia, Winter Blooming Bergenia, Dumbo Elephant's Ears

    • Common names

      Bergenia ciliata, Saxifraga ciliata.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Elephant's ears (Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo') is generally not considered toxic to humans. There are no widely recognized symptoms of poisoning from the ingestion of this plant in the available literature as of my knowledge cutoff date. As always, it is prudent to exercise caution and avoid ingestion of plants that are not established as safe for consumption.

    • To pets

      Elephant's ears (Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo') is not commonly listed as a toxic plant to pets such as dogs and cats. As a result, there are no well-documented symptoms of poisoning from pets ingesting this plant. However, as with any non-food plant, ingestion could potentially cause mild stomach upset. It is always best to prevent pets from ingesting plants not intended for consumption.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds attractive foliage and flowers to gardens or landscapes.
    • Seasonal Interest: Offers year-round interest with evergreen leaves and seasonal blooms.
    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can withstand periods of low water availability.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once settled in the right conditions.
    • Cold Hardy: Capable of surviving in colder climates, making it suitable for a range of environments.
    • Pollinator Friendly: Attracts bees and other beneficial insects with its flowers.
    • Erosion Control: Can be used on slopes and banks to help stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
    • Ground Cover: Dense growth habit can suppress weeds and cover the ground effectively.
    • Edging Plant: Its compact size makes it ideal for borders and edging in garden design.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo' is traditionally used topically to reduce inflammation in various parts of the body.
    • Antimicrobial: Extracts of the plant have shown antimicrobial activities which can help in preventing or treating infections.
    • Antioxidant: It contains compounds that exhibit antioxidant properties, potentially protecting cells from oxidative damage.
    • Diuretic: In some traditional practices, it is used as a diuretic to help flush out excess fluids from the body.
    • Analgesic: The plant is sometimes used to alleviate pain, much like a natural analgesic.
    • Wound healing: There are accounts of the plant being used to promote the healing of wounds due to its possible antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Antilithiatic: It is used in traditional medicine to prevent or treat kidney stones (urolithiasis).

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Photographic Subject: Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo', with its broad and attractive foliage, is often used by photographers as a subject or backdrop for macro photography and artistic compositions.
    • Dye Plant: The leaves and roots of Bergenia ciliata can be used to produce natural dyes for fabrics, providing a range of colors from greens to browns depending on the mordant used.
    • Culinary Garnish: While not commonly known for culinary uses, the leaves can be used as an ornamental garnish for plating, adding an interesting texture to the presentation of dishes.
    • Frost Indicator: The leaves of Bergenia ciliata can sometimes be used as a natural indicator of frost, as they tend to change color or wilt when exposed to low temperatures.
    • Groundcover: The plant's capacity to form dense clumps makes it an effective groundcover for suppressing weeds and covering bare patches in landscaped areas.
    • Livestock Feed: In some regions where the plant is native, Bergenia ciliata may be consumed by livestock such as goats and sheep, although it is not a common forage plant.
    • Green Roofing: Due to its hardiness and low maintenance, Bergenia ciliata can be employed in green roofing projects to create sustainable and visually appealing roof gardens.
    • Erosion Control: The plant’s robust root system helps stabilize soil and can be used on slopes or areas prone to erosion as a natural preventative measure.
    • Sound Barrier: When planted densely, Bergenia ciliata can act as a modest sound barrier due to its thick foliage, making it a practical choice for planting along roadsides or in urban settings.
    • Frost Protection for Other Plants: The broad leaves can be used to cover smaller, more frost-sensitive plants during unexpected cold spells in early spring or late fall.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Bergenia is not used in Feng Shui practice

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Bergenia is not used in astrology practice

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Endurance: Bergenia plants are known for their robust nature, often enduring harsh conditions where other plants might fail, symbolizing the human ability to withstand adversity.
    • Protection: The large leaves of Bergenia, sometimes resembling elephant ears as hinted by the cultivar name 'Dumbo', are considered a symbol of protection and shelter.
    • Tenacity: With its tendency to grow in difficult environments and spread across the ground, Bergenia stands for tenacity and the will to push through challenges.
    • Adaptability: Because it can adapt to various climates and soil types, Bergenia symbolizes versatility and the ability to thrive in changing conditions.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Elephant's Ears should be watered thoroughly once the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch; this usually means watering approximately once a week, but frequency will depend on light and temperature conditions. Be cautious not to overwater, as Bergenia plants prefer well-draining soil and can suffer from root rot if left in soggy conditions. Aim to provide about 1 gallon of water per watering session for an average-sized plant, allowing excess water to drain away to ensure roots are not standing in water.

  • sunLight

    Elephant's Ears thrives in partial shade to full sun, with dappled sunlight being ideal. It should be placed in a location where it can receive morning sunlight and afternoon shade, especially in hotter climates to prevent leaf scorch. These plants can adapt to various lighting conditions but they prefer consistent light to maintain their lush foliage.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Elephant's Ears do well in a variety of temperature conditions, typically favoring a range between 60°F and 75°F. It can survive minimum temperatures down to about 30°F for short periods, but prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures should be avoided. The ideal temperature conditions would be a consistently temperate environment without extreme fluctuations.

  • scissorsPruning

    Elephant's Ears benefits from pruning primarily to remove dead or damaged leaves and to encourage a bushier growth habit. Pruning can be done at any time, but the best time is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. It's not necessary to prune the plant often, but a yearly tidy-up will help maintain its appearance and health.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Elephant's Ears prefers well-draining, humus-rich soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. A mix of garden soil, compost, and perlite or sand would create an ideal environment for healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Elephant's Ears should typically be repotted every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot to maintain its health and accommodate root growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Elephant's Ears thrives in moderate humidity, around 40-60%, which mimics its natural woodland habitat conditions.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Elephant's Ears in bright, indirect light and keep soil moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Elephant's Ears in partial shade and enrich soil with compost.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo', commonly known as Dumbo Elephant's Ears, begins its life cycle as a seed that germinates in moist, well-drained soil, typically in the spring. The seed develops into a seedling, which matures into a clump-forming perennial with a rhizomatous root system. The plant then produces large, leathery leaves that are evergreen in mild winters and that can provide year-round interest. Throughout spring and sometimes into summer, Dumbo Elephant's Ears produces clusters of pink flowers atop tall stems, attracting pollinators. After pollination, the flowers develop into capsules containing seeds that can be disbursed to form new plants. As a perennial, the plant can survive for several years, with the cycle of flowering and seed production repeating annually, while the foliage may die back in the winter to regrow in spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Bergenia ciliata 'Dumbo', commonly known as Fringed Bergenia, is best propagated through division. The ideal time for this is in the spring or early fall. To propagate, carefully dig up the plant, making sure to get a good amount of the root ball. Divide the clump into smaller sections, each with a portion of the roots and at least one growing shoot. Replant the divisions at the same soil depth they were originally growing, ensuring they are spaced about 12 to 15 inches (approximately 30 to 38 centimeters) apart to allow adequate room for growth. Water well after planting to establish the divisions. This method allows for fast clonal reproduction and plants will usually flower in the following growing season.