November's plant of the month

Persicaria Orientalis

The Glyndebourne gardeners are always on the lookout for interesting and unusual plants, particularly those that continue flowering into the autumn.We are as fickle as other gardeners and our favourite plant constantly changes but our current ‘coup de coeur’ is a little-known annual, Persicaria orientalis.

The plant is a giant relative of the native bistort. It has thick stems, similar to those of bamboo, that usually grow to 2m – 2.5m tall.This year, because of the wet weather, some of our Persicarias have grown to over 3m tall. From September onwards the whole plants is spectacularly draped in long cerise, velour-liketassels.They resemble the colour and texture of the flock wallpaper that was widely used in provincial Indian restaurants in the 1960s and 1970s, so they might not be to everyone’s taste.We love them.

If you want to grow Persicaria orientalis in your own garden, sow the seeds in small pots in April or May in a cold frame or greenhouse and plant them out in June. Alternatively, you can sow the seeds in June directly in to the soil where you want the plant to grow.

In its native North America it goes by a common name so flamboyant that it’s worth growing just to be able to sprinkle the name into conversations: ‘Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate’.

Click on the image gallery for each month’s special plant, and return here next month to discover more about our pick of the month for December