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It's not hard to figure out where fleece flower got its name. In summer, it produces large spikes of beautiful, fluffy flowers in pink, red, or white. The foliage features lance-shape leaves that are often attractively variegated. Succulent stems with conspicuous knots at the node give this plant its other common name: knotweed. And a weed it can sometimes be, so seek out the non-invasive varieties to save the rest of your flower bed.
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Part Sun, Sun
From 6 inches to 8 feet
1-5 feet wide, depending on variety
garden plans for Fleece flower
The Tall and Short of It
Fleece flower, or the genus Persicaria, is comprised of a massive group of plants that range from ground-hugging 'Himalayan Border Jewel' fleece flower to 5-foot-tall giant fleece flower. Exceptionally tough, these perennials are also known as knotweed. Some types of fleece flower live up to the "weed" part of their common name by self-seeding with gusto to take over a planting area. The good news is that many of the named cultivars available at garden centers were selected because they are well-behaved.
Garden Design Ideas
With both flowers and often-variegated green foliage contributing to its good looks, fleece flower is a valuable member of a garden designer's palette. Some varieties boast foliage that takes on intense hues in extreme heat or cold. Tall varieties are great for the back of a border. Medium-height plants, which suit the middle of a border, look especially striking in a casual cottage garden. Mat-forming groundcover species of fleece flower are well-suited to rock gardens or for planting between stepping stones on a walkway.
Avoid the Invasion
Carefully inspect the plant tag when purchasing fleece flower, or talk to nursery staff, to avoid the fleece flower varieties that are invasive in your area. In general, named cultivars, such as 'Summer Dance', 'Firetail', 'Golden Arrow', and 'Alba' spread slowly but are not invasive.
Feel free to choose great white fleece flower (Persicaria polymorpha), also known as giant fleece flower, because it is not invasive. But it is exceptionally showy, growing 4 to 5 feet tall and topped with massive, white, fluffy flower clusters for 8 weeks or more in midsummer. Giant fleece flower adds vertical interest to the back of a border. It also makes a great focal-point plant.
Fleece Flower Care Must-Knows
All types of fleece flower share similar growing requirements. They thrive in full sun and average, well-drained soil. They're tolerant of heat, humidity, and, when established, drought. Many types are also deer-resistant.
Fleece flower is often one of the last plants to emerge in spring. Give it plenty of time to pop out of the ground before determining whether it made it through the winter. As soon as the green shoots emerge, fleece flower will take off. Taller plants may need to be staked for support.