PlantFiles: Giant Japanese Butterbur, Sweet Coltsfoot, Fuki Petasites japonicus var. giganteus
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Spacing: 36-48 in. (90-120 cm) 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
Hardiness: 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) USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F) USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
Sun Exposure: Light Shade
Danger: Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Bloom Color: White/Near White
Bloom Time: Mid Winter
Other details: Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline) 7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)
On Apr 1, 2013, nekvt from McIndoe Falls, VT wrote:
I have been battling this plant for 3 years now. Planted in a dark, moist spot on a hill under trees along the brook, about 14 years ago. For the first ten years, it was beautiful, sticking to an area that grew nothing else. Three years ago, it spread in a huge manner. Over a quarter acre and I am constantly digging, chopping, tracking. The electric company has come by to find out what it is, as they can see it from the air. I may get the state in to help eradicate it. And yes, it does smell. Not in a good way....something sort of chemical-ish. KEEP IN CONTAINERS!
On May 30, 2010, MrFritz from San Diego, CA wrote:
I live in downtown San Diego and have my Fuki growing in a container on my west facing balcony, which gets its fair share of afternoon sun. It is doing quite well as I give it water consistently. It is quite an impressive plant.
On Mar 4, 2009, BambooChic from Prattville, AL wrote:
Although I am deeply in love with this plant, I have had no luck in the many times and places I have tried to grow it here in S.C. AL. It will do well when I plant it out in March but it slowly withers and dies no matter what I do once the heat sets in here around May. Shame!
Invasive, yes! but the big leaves make a fine, dramatic backdrop for other plants. Mine are now spreading around under a bunch of autumn olive and quince trees, and since they get plenty of water, they thrive in both sun and shade, though they appear to prefer sun. Deer resistant plants are always welcome here, since we have herds of deer walking the streets, and these fit the bill.
On Aug 9, 2006, Mushroomgreg from Seaside, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:
I have recently planted some Fuki plants for a Japanese woman I am installing a garden for. She has treatments to remove the "aku" or lye from it. (Aku, spelled differently, means evil or wickedness. She claims that it cannot be eaten otherwise. It is commonly eaten in Japan after such treatment.
On Jul 20, 2005, lourspolaire from Delray Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:
I planted 5 bare roots of these petasites japonicus giganteus during a heat wave in July 2004. The bed sits under a huge cedar tree. It is in total shade, except for maybe 90 minutes in the morning and an hour at the end of the afternoon. Soil here (Montreal's west island, Quebec, Canada) is mostly clay.
Depending on the winters, we are located in a zone 5 or 4-B; it's hard to pinpoint exactly. These plants just love water. They would probably love the pond's edge but there is no shade there. Rain or shine, a 45-gallon barrel is filled with water EVERY day and it drains into the bed through a homemade gravity-driven irrigation system.
This plant is just a joy to have in the garden if, like me, you enjoy large, invasive, toxic, perennial plants. The huge leaves sit on top of a stalk that is 1 1/2 in. in diameter at the bottom and 3/4 in. diameter at the top. The stalks stand at least 3 feet tall.
The 5 bare roots I planted last year have yielded over 20 plants this spring and I was digging them out of the grass and planting them back into the bed just after the snow melted (April).
Oddly, the plant flowers before the leaves appear, just after the snow is gone. An 8-in. stalk is produced that is covered by really insignificant small white flowers. When the flowers die back, the leaves develop quickly. No weeds grow under there because the ground receives just about no light.
One day, a squirrel cut off a stem and ate quite a bit of it. I found the remains of the stalk one afternoon and a dead squirrel the next morning by my garden shed. Coincidence? I told you the plant is toxic. I have learned that the stalk contains an alcaloid that degrades the liver. There are recipes for cooking fuki on the internet but one shouldn't be courting liver failure.
On Feb 26, 2005, GardenGuyKin from Portland, OR (Zone 8a) wrote:
I enjoy the foliage with this variegated petasites then in late winter early spring it blooms. The bloom appears before the leaves break ground here.
Draw backs are it can become invasive and requires plenty of water during the hot summer. Does well in a semi shaddy area and would most likely enjoy a boggy area.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
, Rockville, Connecticut Hanna City, Illinois Sioux City, Iowa Linwood, Kansas Kemp Mill, Maryland East Harwich, Massachusetts Gloucester, Massachusetts Edwardsburg, Michigan Niles, Michigan Chisholm, Minnesota Fridley, Minnesota Averill Park, New York Cayuga Heights, New York New York, New York Elizabeth City, North Carolina Cincinnati, Ohio Eufaula, Oklahoma Gearhart, Oregon Portland, Oregon Salem, Oregon Laflin, Pennsylvania North Augusta, South Carolina Hendersonville, Tennessee Pocahontas, Tennessee Lindon, Utah Mc Indoe Falls, Vermont Lexington, Virginia Seattle, Washington