Variegated Japanese Knotweed, Speckled Mexican Bamboo 'Variegata'

Fallopia japonica

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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

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

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Buford, Georgia

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

Freeport, 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)

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Belfield, North Dakota

Haviland, Ohio

Mill City, Oregon

New Hope, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Nashville, Tennessee

Athens, Texas

Cypress, Texas

Longview, Texas

Rhome, Texas

Alexandria, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 31, 2015, rodey from Freeport, MI wrote:

This plant will not quit! The specimen I have is approximately 30 years old and still gets 6-8 feet high every summer.
It appears to be somewhat less invasive than other knotweeds, but that may just be my location.

It looks okay, I guess, but - it's illegal for me to possess in my state. I have been working closely with the DNR to manage this plant. It WILL ruin foundations, porches, etc if given enough time, and it also clogs important waterways. Management of this plant is difficult and includes broad spectrum chemical herbicides both applied and injected into the plant. It has broken my cement steps and is coming up through cement approximately 18" thick.

Even if this plant is legal where you live, I would seriously think long and hard about introduc... read more


On May 17, 2015, flowerchild67 from Athens, TX wrote:

I have grown this plant for about 4 years in part shade. It is quite an attention getter. I do get a few suckers but have a list of people who want them. I have searched for the name of this plant since I got it but just today I found out its true name. I am in the eastern part of Texas, Zone 8A, and the plant does very well for me.


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... read more


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... read more


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?


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.


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.


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 m... read more


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 invasi... read more