At the risk of boring everyone with posts about this plant (Persicaria orientalis) I think I have now been in its company long enough to come to some conclusions. As I have said before, the seeds were sown in spring in the greenhouse and the plants set out in late May. The plants are now 2.5m high and have the habit of producing their first blooms at the top of the plant. Then sideshoots grow, first from the top of the plant and then lower down, so the flower display gets bigger, and better, and lower, as the season progresses. It reminds me of some palms such as many Caryota that grow to a maximum height and then produce flower spikes, first at the top and then down the trunk and then die.
So, here are the good things about the plant:
It is fast growing, tall and vigorous. The base of the plants is woody and about 5cm in diameter. They stand up to the wind well
The flowers are a bright, vibrant pink
Stripped of leaves they are proving a good cut flower
It is easy to raise from seed
It has grown well in sun and moderately in part shade, even in this less than perfect summer
And the less good things:
It is a very long wait till the flowers really start and I am sure I will miss most because of the first frost.
The foliage is large and bold, but now it is starting to go past its best it is almost tatty, just as the flowers are looking good
It is big! The flowers are held way above any other plants. Next year I will combine it with tall, pale yellow or white sunflowers or plant it near ‘Black Lace’ elder. Maybe it would look good with buddleias but it will be tricky even finding a shrub that flowers that late. I would like to try it with a purple vernonia, sky blue Salvia uliginosa or Leucanthemella serotina but none of these tall border plants would be tall enough to mingle with the pink tassels. Maybe a tall miscanthus would be the best companion.
So, will it get a place in the garden next year? If we have a frost-free autumn it may self seed and I won’t have a choice. But I have a feeling I won’t see it self seed. I think I will have to try the variegated form next year and enjoy its leaves. As it is, I will grow it at least once again but I need to find a really robust and late companion.
Macro Monday Answer
Congratulations if you knew it was an Astrantia major. And the cv. is ‘Roma’ if I remember correctly.