Plant of the Month – August 2012

Sometimes you want something bright and easy, which perhaps even borders on the thuggish and provides a big honking chunk of colour in August when the early summer plants are starting to make everything feel a bit prematurely autumnal with their seedpods.

Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Atrosanguinea'

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Atrosanguinea’

Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Atrosanguinea’ forms a clump of quite attractive pointed leaves which throw up lots of cheerful pink-red flower spikes in late summer. It is certainly not a delicate plant and you might occasionally have to beat it back a little, maybe even with a chair and a whip.

Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Atrosanguinea'

Persicaria in the border

Here I’ve planted it in my soggy bottom border and it’s bulked up a huge amount since last autumn so don’t go planting it in a small space next to things which are worried by competition. Fortunately the Glyceria maxima ‘Variegata’ which you can see in the background is not phased by this and is squaring up to the Persicaria in a slightly worrying manner.

The Persicaria is about 4 foot tall with its flower spikes on and likes a bit of moisture in its soil. Here it’s in a reasonably sunny spot, although the border faces north and once the Cornuses in the back get going (assuming the Persicaria and Glyceria let them…) they’ll be partially shady, but they should be fine with that.

Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Atrosanguinea'

Trying to look sweet – we know the truth…

It’s a bit of a favourite in meadowey prairie type schemes and I can see why. Those flower spikes have a translucence that works really well with grasses and other wafty flowers, but the plants themselves are as far from wafty as you can get. There’ll be no fainting and smelling salts here!

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