Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Variegated Japanese Knotweed, Speckled Mexican Bamboo
Fallopia japonica 'Variegata'

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Fallopia (fal-OH-pee-uh) (Info)
Species: japonica (juh-PON-ih-kuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Variegata
Additional cultivar information: (aka Milkboy)

Synonym:Polygonum cuspidatum
Synonym:Pleuropterus cuspidatus
Synonym:Polygonum cuspidatum var. compactum
Synonym:Polygonum zuccarinii
Synonym:Reynoutria japonica

One vendor has this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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5 positives
1 neutral
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive CommittedinDurham On Mar 11, 2015, CommittedinDurham from Durham, NC wrote:

Several years ago I was attracted to this plant as its leaves and arching stems reminded me of an Eastern Redbud as it appears to float in a mild breeze. The variegation is a big plus on my list also. In our Zone 7b it dies back to the ground each winter. I have planted it in several shaded areas and it stays fairly well-contained. In spring if it has more new stems than I prefer, I dig them up and pot them. Planted in the midst of a pachysandra bed, it creates a 3-4' high focal point that visitors are drawn to. Today while removing the dead branches from last year's growth, I noticed a portion of the established pachysandra bed appears to have thinned. In another bed where I have hellebores, calicanthus, ferns and a few hostas, the fallopia creates a medium height point of interest under mature crepe myrtles. I have gifted several visitors with potted variegated fallopia.
After reading an article this evening on the highly invasive Japanese knotweed, fallopia japonica, I am now concerned about my plants in years to come whether or not they will consume my areas as its removal or eradication sounds difficult to impossible. I am blindly hoping the variegated form will not be the ruination of our landscaping.

Negative coriaceous On Feb 3, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This pretty foliage plant is grown in a small garden I help maintain in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts (Z6a). It's in a clump that hasn't spread quickly (in light shade), and it's only about 3-4 ft tall.

However, it's not sterile, and the seedlings are like the parent species---invasively aggressive spreaders, to 7' tall, and lacking the variegation. Seedlings on both neighboring properties have become a bone of contention among the property owners.

This species has been banned or declared a noxious weed in 8 states, and is widely naturalized throughout the US. It destroys natural habitat by turning it into knotweed monoculture.

I've always found it impossible to dig out the parent species, and it's most often spread by moving soil containing bits of its deep rhizomes. I've found that it can be controlled---with difficulty---by repeated application of 2% glyphosate in late summer (with multiple applications over several seasons).

If I wanted to achieve the same effect but without the hassle---this species is banned where I live---I'd consider substituting a variegated red-twig dogwood or other similar shrub.

Positive Victorine72 On Apr 1, 2012, Victorine72 from Richmond, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I planted a 3qt pot of this during the middle of a heat wave last summer. My garden is mostly shaded, and already full of hostas, so Fallopia Japonica seemed like a good, indestructible, choice to provide both foliage and height variation. It was well watered at first but, just like the rest of my garden, as the summer progressed it was subjected to increasing neglect. It never really grew at all-- just three branches of dainty, speckled leaves. I thought I had lost it over the winter, but just in the last week it has emerged and is growing with surprising gusto. I'm a little afraid of this plant. Probably best to keep slow moving pets away from it. Beautiful but deadly?

Positive TheresaHill On Jul 19, 2009, TheresaHill from Lincoln, NE (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is a beautiful carefree shrub...this variety is large. Green/white varigated leaves with reddish/pink veining and red stems. Large near white panicles form in August. It really attracts bees and butterflies. The only problem I have is that it tends to be very invasive sending out runners similar to trumpet vine.

Positive Malus2006 On Feb 18, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

A very lovely plant which literally glows. The strange thing about its variegation is that it will always clump the heaviest at the top leaves while the lower leaves are mostly green. Much less invasive than the green form, especially when grown in part shade. I'm thinking about trying it in woodland shade this year (2008). I won't suggest growing this variety in full sun.

Neutral andre1969 On Oct 7, 2007, andre1969 from Glenn Dale, MD wrote:

This plant is actually considered an invasive species here in Maryland. It tends to take over in areas where the soil has recently been disturbed. It will also poison the soil and crowd out other species. It's a beautiful plant, when it's kept contained and under control. But be careful, because it can get out of hand, very quickly. I have a stand of it growing along the edge of the woods behind my house. It will get up to 8 feet tall. If it starts to get out of hand, it seems to stay under control if you just pull the shoots out of the ground, and then keep them trimmed. However, once it gets rooted in a certain area, I don't think it ever truly goes away.

It grows very quickly, so I imagine it would make a fine privacy screen. If anybody wants any, come on up to my place and you can take as much as you want. I don't'll be back!

Positive RosieInGeorgia On Sep 23, 2007, RosieInGeorgia from Gainesville, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a terrific decorative deciduous shrub/large perennial here in my zone 7 North Georgia garden. It dies completely to the ground in the winter, then grows to 4-1/2 to 5 tall feet by summer's end and suckers to form a nice clump. The pretty green-and-white foliage develops an additional soft rust tone as summer progresses, echoing the red stems.

It suckers vigorously in loose soil but is controllable and otherwise has been totally carefree. Although it would quickly run and overwhelm smaller plants in a well-dug flower border,it's very good in the shrub border by our driveway. Note, although its plant family, Polygonaceae, is full of nasty plant thugs, such as Japanese knotweed, this one's just a little pushy and there's been no indication so far that it would be invasive in our climate.

As we move into fall here in North Georgia, It's covered with its dainty little sprays of white flowers for yet another feature, and it's also a-hum with thousands of pollinating insects. Interestingly (what inspired me to drop a note here as people really need to know these things!), is that an astounding number of them are flies. My husband says he noted an unpleasant scent as he walked by, but when I went out and took a sniff it was very mild and seemed pleasant enough. But in any case, not a plant for by the kitchen door. Ours is 50 feet away and I haven't had to shoo a fly out of the house since it started blooming. Just coincidence?


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Garfield, Arkansas
Boulder Creek, California
Calistoga, California
Castro Valley, California
Emeryville, California
Magalia, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Norwich, Connecticut
Winsted, Connecticut
Marietta, Georgia
Montpelier, Idaho
Mounds, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Warren, Indiana
Shawnee Mission, Kansas
Wichita, Kansas
Glenn Dale, Maryland
Dracut, Massachusetts
Wayland, Massachusetts
East Tawas, Michigan
Howell, Michigan
South Lyon, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Starbuck, Minnesota
Columbia, Missouri
Lincoln, Nebraska
Buffalo, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina (2 reports)
Belfield, North Dakota
Haviland, Ohio
Mill City, Oregon
New Hope, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Nashville, Tennessee
Cypress, Texas
Longview, Texas
Rhome, Texas
Alexandria, Virginia
Lexington, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia

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