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'Red Dragon' Persicaria Creates Interest in the Garden

I loved Persicaria microcephala 'Red Dragon' the first time I saw it, but I wasn't sure if it would like me. My climate can be difficult. Happily, it has been growing in my garden for over two years now, and I am so pleased with it that I recently purchased another one. It was an end of the season bargain, overgrowing its pot and begging to be planted. I am fortunate that my mild climate allows me to plant in fall and winter, and I often take advantage of reduced prices this time of year. 

'Red Dragon' is commonly called fleeceflower. It is a gorgeous, mounding perennial with outstanding foliage, growing to about 2-3 feet tall and wide. This 'Red Dragon' persicaria has been growing successfully near my arbor garden for several years.It has 3 to 4 inch bluish-green, arrow-shaped leaves with silver and plum chevron markings, and it has striking maroon stems. If that is not enough to win your heart, it also produces airy sprays of tiny white flowers from midsummer through fall that attract butterflies and other pollinators.This 'Red Dragon' is newly purchased. It is a bit scrawny but should fill in nicely by next year.

This is an easy-care plant with few problems; it is deer and rabbit resistant and will tolerate urban pollution. It grows in full sun to partial shade in most any soil in USDA hardiness zones 5 - 9. It appreciates afternoon shade in warmer climates. It grows best in average to moist soil, and will grow well even in bog gardens. It will also do well in a container. I planted my new 'Red Dragon' in the woodland garden:My newly planted 'Red Dragon' is seen in the foreground in this photo of a side path in the woodland garden.

'Red Dragon' is an interesting plant, but not a lot of people are familiar with it. Visitors often stop to examine it and ask me what it is. It will go dormant when frosty air arrives, but I can eagerly look forward to seeing it return in the spring.

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Reader Comments (15)

Wow, that is a beauty--both the flowers and the foliage! I'm glad it's performing well for you! :)

October 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

This is one plant that grows in my garden too, albeit reluctantly. I brought a cutting with me from my old garden but, thus far, it's only established itself in one spot where it gets just morning sun. It wasn't happy during the height of our drought when virtually all my plants received less water than they'd have liked but it's done better this year under fewer restrictions. In fact, I'm hoping to root more cuttings to try elsewhere next year, although, at the moment, I'm beginning to wonder how much rain we can expect during the fall-winter season. We've had none thus far and there's none in the extended forecast until mid-November. *Sigh*

October 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Red Dragon is a work horse in my garden. I plant it where nothing else will hardly grow. It is such a beautiful plant at all times. The flowers are great in bouquets too.

October 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLisa at Greenbow

Like you said, not many are familiar with Red Dragon..which I'm not but, it looks interesting, for sure. To my surprise, it would probably grow well in my climate! Thanks for the post, I will look into it!

October 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSally

Sadly it needs more moisture than my very free draining soil can offer it. But I do agree it is a great plant for most gardens.

October 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Beautiful foliage, it looks tender and exotic. I love that big fern in the background.

October 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Magnificent leaves are rewarding and you have the space to enjoy them.

October 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

I've had mine here since moving in 8 years ago Deb. The drought knocked it back last summer so it's struggling. I'll let you know if it pops up again better in the spring. May have to get a new one.
Great post as usual!!

October 23, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEve

That is a very interesting and attractive plant. I still don't have any Persicaria in our garden, though I see lots of it at Lurie and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

October 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Although my borders are pretty much full, I will be working on plants for containers next Spring. After reading your post, the Persicaria Red Dragon is on the list.

October 25, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

I tried this plant once and did not get it to overwinter. I must try again as it has such nice foliage.

October 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

This is a fabulous plant for its foliage. It reminds me of Rainbow Leucothoe, which also prefers shade. I will have to look into it.

That really is an interesting plant. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it.

October 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Ruff Leja

Yes this is a hardy plant and does well in shade, also spreads well. I used to have it in a couple of places in the yard but didn't keep it under control. Maybe should try again.

October 27, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPatsi

This Persicaria looks much more handsome than the lady's thumb that keeps reseeding itself all over my garden!

October 31, 2017 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

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