POLYGONUM

A large and varied group containing both weeds and garden plants. The tiny flowers are borne on long spikes which appear over a prolonged period stretching from midsummer until autumn. The garden varietiesare mainly vigorous ground covers which can spread and become a nuisance if not kept in check. The leaves are sometimes red-tinted and all flourish in moisture-retentive soil. Water during dry spells.

VARIETIES: The most useful Polygonum is P. aff ine – height 1 tt, spacing 2 ft.

Flowering period: June-October. The leaves of this evergreen ground carpeter turn yellow and bronze in autumn as the pink flower spikes begin to fade. The two varieties are ‘Darjeeling Red’ (deep pink) and ‘Donald Lowndes’ (rose-red). P. bistorta ‘Superbum’ (2 ft) produces tall pokers of pink flowers between July and September, and P. amplexicaule bears red pokers above its heart-shaped leaves. It is taller than the others, reaching 3-4 ft. and popular varieties are ‘Firetail’, ‘Speciosum’ and ‘Atrosanguineum’. The prettiest Polygonum is the non-invasive P. campanulatum (3 ft) which bears its pink flowers in loose sprays.

SITE AND SOIL: Any reasonable garden soil will do – thrives in sun or partia shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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