Rodgersias are extremely handsome plants primarily grown for their foliage. The plants are named in honor of a United States admiral, John Rodgers, who commanded an expedition to Japan at the end of the 19th century, where one species (Rodgersia podophylla) was discovered.
Description of rodgersia: Rodgersia has large, compound leaves that resemble those of a horse chestnut. Each leaflet is about 7 inches long, coarsely toothed, and grows on 4-foot high plants that are usually tinted with bronze. Small, 5-petaled white flowers appear in July, blooming in flat clusters on 2-foot stems. Rodgersia ease of care: Moderately easy.
How to grow rodgersia: Rodgersias need specific conditions that include a good, moist soil with plenty of organic matter mixed in and a location with the crowns at least 1 inch below the surface. They want partial shade with sun only part of the day, preferably in the morning. In areas of severe winter without snow cover, mulch is necessary.
Propagating rodgersia: By division in spring or by seed.
Uses for rodgersia: Like ferns, rodgersias are special plants perfectly suited for the wild garden, the edge of the water garden, or the shade garden. They do especially well in open shade under tall trees.
Rodgersia related species: Rodgersia pinnata, the feathered bronze leaf, has large, toothed, emerald-green, fan-like leaves tinged with bronze. Flowers are pink, and plants grow to about 36 inches high.
Scientific name for rodgersia: Rodgersia aesculifolia