Persicaria polymorpha

Persicaria polymorpha at dusk, photo by Paul Clancy

Persicaria polymorpha at dusk, photo by Paul Clancy

Mention the name Persicaria in horticulture circles, and you may raise a few eyebrows. Persicaria has a very bad cousin: Polygonum cuspidatum, commonly  known as Japanese Knotweed or Running Bamboo (but it is not a bamboo!), and this cousin can spread DREADFULLY. But please read on…

Persicaria polymorpha is commonly called Giant Fleece Flower, and this common name  describes it well. Within a few seasons, Persicaria polymorpha will reach 5′, maybe 6′ tall and form imposing clumps, increasing in width each season to 6′ or more. Talk about taking up space! In June and July, white Astilbe like plumes adorn the plant and the blooms seem to last and last. This is a great plant for a long distance view (think about its size and white color) and is memorable when viewed in the early evening light.

Here are the facts: Giant Fleece Flower likes average soil, or moist soil, or even very dry soil once established. It loves full sun but will grow in partial shade. It is a bold perennial and and adds contrast to the finer textured plants in your garden. Like Baptisia, it is one of the first herbaceous plants to attain good height in the spring.  It is deer resistant and long lived. I have yet to discover seedlings about, although it can be propagated by seed. Persicaria polymorpha is hardy in zones 2b-9. (updated hardiness from commenter’s notes.)

Consider Persicaria polymorpha when you are in need of a big, bold, hardy, long blooming, deer resistant plant.

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13 thoughts on “Persicaria polymorpha”

  1. Is persicaria polymorpha hardy in z. 4 as described on the first page, or z.5 and warmer as described on the order page?

  2. HI:
    I have this planted in NH and it is beautiful but it is a magnet for Japanese Beetles.

  3. Jayne
    We originally thought it was zone 5 (hardy to -20F), but we’ve had customers in zone 4 report it has wintered over for them. I went online ans saw some nurseries listing it as zone 3B. I feel confident it is zone 4 now, so i will update the website.

  4. I have planted this perennial with no problems here in zone 6 on the RI shoreline

  5. I bought 4 plants from your nursery. The first year they were each just one stem, about one foot high. Last year each plant had 3 or 4 stems about 3′ high with big white plumes of flowers. This year there are many stems and each plant is already 6′ high and still growing. We live in Maine and the plants are in part shade. They look wonderful and so far the Japanese beetles haven’t found them.

  6. Oh, and I just love to say: “Persicaria Polymorpha”. It makes me sound smart.

  7. Just bought a pot and will plant in semi shde in North Dakota. WIll see how it does. Hopeful !!! 🙂

  8. Hi,
    Just to add, I live in Prairie Canada, temps can dip as low as -50C at times in Winter. I have grown a Giant Fleece flower for about 10 years, and i’s currently 6ft wide and 7ft tall. I do not do anything for protection except it has snow cover. It looks dead every Spring but always surprises me by coming back. So that’s Zone 2b. A lovely plant worth growing. BTW It grows in the middle of the garden.

  9. I planted 2 2 years ago and they ate very big. Even now in August, I have new flowers blooming. Love them and they look wonderful in my front yard (growing them in front of my fence to block neighborhood foot and car traffic). We live in ND and I plan on dividing them next spring.

  10. Hi, I have to have my 10cents in. I live on the Canadian prairies,
    my lovely Giant Fleece flower is currently 7ft tall and 5 ft across. My zone is 2b ( -30C -40C ) in Winter. It gets no special care apart from snow.cover. Each Spring I think it’s dead, but back it comes bigger and better than ever.
    I hope this helps someone looking to plant it. We usually have very dry Summers with water restrictions, so this is one tough plant. I love it. Now if I only could find a video on how to propagate it, I’d be so happy.

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