Persicaria, Fleece Flower, Knotweed 'Red Dragon'

Persicaria microcephala

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Persicaria (per-sih-KAR-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: microcephala (my-kro-SEF-uh-luh) (Info)
Cultivar: Red Dragon
Additional cultivar information:(PP12062)
Hybridized by Speichert
Registered or introduced: 1999
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:



White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


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


Gadsden, Alabama

Carpinteria, California

Clayton, California

Fairfield, California

Magalia, California

Menlo Park, California

Merced, California

Pleasant Hill, California

Seaside, California

Golden, Colorado

Laurel, Delaware

Atlantic Beach, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

Augusta, Georgia

Blackshear, Georgia

Douglas, Georgia

Gainesville, Georgia

Mansfield, Georgia

Thomasville, Georgia

Washington, Illinois

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Winamac, Indiana

Vail, Iowa

Ewing, Kentucky

Flemingsburg, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Mandeville, Louisiana

Fallston, Maryland

Reading, Massachusetts

Upton, Massachusetts

Saint Clair Shores, Michigan

Leakesville, Mississippi

Mount Vernon, Missouri

Camden, New Jersey

Jamesburg, New Jersey

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Bay Village, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio (2 reports)

Glouster, Ohio

Coos Bay, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Hollywood, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Maryville, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Colleyville, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)

Houston, Texas (3 reports)

Jacksonville, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Winnsboro, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Arlington, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Seattle, Washington (2 reports)

Spokane, Washington

Charleston, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 17, 2013, kedori from Reading, MA wrote:

I also purchased my plant from Bluestone perennials, and, similar to others, it didn't survive in zone 6, Reading, Massachusetts. However, because I loved it so much, perhaps I'll try it again from a different nursery.


On Jul 10, 2013, portiaraylee from Winamac, IN wrote:

I see some have problems with this plant in zone 5. I too live in zone 5 and have had this plant for three years, and have had great success. A reason could possibly be that they are growing in a shade garden and are covered by a layer of leaves every fall for protection. I divided them this year and planted them where they will have no leaves covering them and plan to mulch them instead.


On Jun 1, 2013, wmc from Oak Park, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have to agree with a previous negative review. All 3 plants which flourished after planting last year in my zone 5b Chicago suburb failed to survive what was not a harsh winter.
The vendor, Bluestone Perennials, lists the plant as viable in zone 5.


On Sep 23, 2012, vaccin8 from Atlanta, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This plant does great here in Gainesville, GA (zone 7a). I put in three plants last fall in a morning dappled sun/afternoon shade site under a crabapple tree. The three are now a mound 6 - 7 feet across and 2 to 21/2 feet high, they have been blooming nonstop since early summer and have showed no signs of stress during our August dog-days heat.


On Feb 27, 2012, RustyB from Mandeville, LA wrote:

Plant grows well here (Abita Springs, LA. - Zone 9A). Requires partial shade, but little else. Tends to become leggy by mid-summer, but responds to a little trimming. Requires no special protection for freezing temperatures.


On Aug 9, 2010, DearSandra from Coos Bay, OR wrote:

I love this plant. I live in southern coastal Oregon. I got my first one 5-6 years ago. It has made it through some very freezing weather (23 last winter for over a week). I liked it so much I tried to propagate it in water....instant wilt, no luck. But later I bought some from a lady on EBAY and figured if she could propagate them then, DAMMIT, so could I trimmed them one day and took all the 12 inch cuttings, removed the tip growth, stripped all but 1 set of leaves off and burried the stems in shallow trenches directly in the planting bed. I'll be darned, they rooted right there! I have an embankment mixed with those and some green and some yellow plants. It looks stunning all summer. The deer eat it, but only the edges of the bed and the plant doesn't seem to mind lo... read more


On Jul 30, 2009, vailvillager from Vail, IA wrote:

This plant does produce tiny flowers and viable seeds. The seed collecting info stated in description is incorrect. The minute flowers have been reseeding in my USDA Zone 4 display gardens for more than 10 years!


On Jun 2, 2009, kaneary from Pleasant Hill, CA wrote:

I bought one of these plants and planted it several years ago on my shady hillside (clay soil here in the East Bay, CA) and it doesn't get much water so it stayed kind of leggy but is still there. I took a cutting, placed it in some water only (back when I didn't know how to do real cuttings) it grew some roots so I planted it on the side of my house where I have a small planting area between the window and walkway. It gets quite a bit of water and full sun there, and boy it really took off and I now can not keep that thing from growing! It has been 3 years now and I am still constantly cutting it back to keep it off of the walkway. It is beautiful, and most of the year always seems to be in bloom here, but it is annoying that it grows so fast. Interestingly enough, I have noticed little b... read more


On Jan 19, 2009, turektaylor from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

although this is called invasive, i have no trouble keeping it in check.
it's very easy to pull out, just my opinion..... PLUS, it grows fast, in the shade no less, and the colors are great. what more could ya ask for ?


On Apr 20, 2008, lmtoms from Cincinnati, OH wrote:

I love this plant but so far this spring in Zone 6 its hasn't come back. I cut it down last fall to just the crown. You think that was a bad move? Does anyone know if its grows on old or new growth?


On Jan 5, 2007, kbaumle from Northwest, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I am in zone 5A and I planted three of these in the fall of 2005. Not a single one made it through their first winter and they weren't in a particularly vulnerable spot, either. The nursery where I bought them said that they are advertised as being hardy to zone 5, but they have had varied results from their customers. I loved the looks of them, but I won't try them again.


On Sep 17, 2006, CamdenGardenVillage from Camden, NJ wrote:

I bought the plant in the Fall when all its leaves had fallen off because I liked the bare stems with the white flowers. It came back in the Spring and has been doing really well but now, in September, it's attracting hundreds of little flies. They haven't been annoying but it is a little gross to admire it and suddenly notice the hundreds of flies all over it. I'm probably going to rip it out because of that but it was a cool experiment nonetheless.


On Apr 4, 2006, RonniePitman wrote:

It is my understanding that one grower is marketing this plant in central Texas under the cultivar name "Rubra."


On Jan 28, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

My information says that it is hardy in zones 3-8.

The more light it receives, the lighter the foliage becomes. Not one of my favorite plants, but nice for a shady area that doesn't get a lot of water. Blooms June-October in my garden, but the blooms are insignificant. PP #12949


On May 19, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The 'Red Dragon' seeds are supposed to be sterile according to several descriptions I have read. It is also supposed to be non-stoloniferous so it's not supposed to be root invasive.

I love plants that change leaf colors during the year. In spring, the leaves are deep burgundy/plum with mint and silver colored chevrons. While in summer, they turn greener with a red leaf margin and a red chevron. It has done well in a container for the past few months. I have just planted it in the ground so I will not post any other comments until I have determined how well it performs.

Update: August 9, this plant has grown tremendously and is really beautiful. The blooms are small, but being in clusters and white, they show up well.


On May 31, 2004, enalter from Leakesville, MS (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is very easy to root from cuttings, I have a number of these plants that I have rooted and have shared them with a number of my friends. I started with one small plant.


On May 27, 2004, jerbare from Thomasville, GA wrote:

i live in southern ga. i love this plant is has grown outstanding for me in sun and in shade i highly recommend it for any garden. it roots easily in water.


On May 18, 2004, DeeGoods from Saint Clair Shores, MI wrote:

I love this plant, it is so dramatic....but, I've planted it twice in two different locations, my first plant did not come back the next year. It was located in a partial sun location. It was a beautiful plant though. Last year I planted in a mostly sunny location, it was huge, 2 feet high, with at least 3 feet spread....but again it didn't come back this year. The reason why I'm giving it a postive- the plant seeded at least a half a dozen babies for me. Hopefully I will have more luck with those! It is a beautiful plant. (I am in zone 6 in Michigan)


On Jul 8, 2003, phalvorson from Panama City, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

We live in the Florida panhandle (zone 8b). We planted Red Dragon in a shady landscape island in our front lawn about 3 months ago. They get regular watering and have been doing very well. Some persicarias have been classified as invasive, but so far these have not tried to expand outside of the current planting area. Each plant has grown wider rather than taller, with the norm being about 2.5' high by 2' across. It is very easy to take small cuttings and put them in the ground to propagate this plant. Note that overwatering causes fungus infection to appear on the leaves.