Bistort: 4 To 5 Inch Spikes Of Bright-Pink Bottlebrush Flowers

Bistort: 4 To 5 Inch Spikes Of Bright-Pink Bottlebrush Flowers


Photo Compliments Of Dean Morley

Persicaria bistorta, commonly called bistort is a perennial with many positive features. Plants form a low mound of dense green foliage, bearing 4 to 5 inch upright spikes of bright-pink bottlebrush flowers that last through the summer months. It is excellent in the border, as well as for massed planting. It is especially well suited for a partially shaded waterside locations, but can be grown in full sun. If you remove faded flowers regularly you will encourage more buds and extend the bloom period.

Bistort forms mounds that can reach a height of 24 to 30 inches. The leaves are large, 8 inches in length, lance-shaped, and dark green with a white midrib that turns an attractive red in fall. Stems have sheathed joints. Dense, bottlebrush-like spikes (4 to 6 inches) of tiny pink flowers sit atop leafless stems rising well above the foliage in late spring to mid-summer. Repeat bloom may occur intermittently into fall.

How To Make Your Bistort Thrive

Bistort is easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in partial shade. Your best results will be in moist, fertile soils that are not allowed to become completely dry. Consistent soil moisture is particularly important in hot summer climates such as the upper Midwest where this plant often does not perform as well as it does in cooler northern areas. It will certainly flower less in drier soils. Bistort spreads slowly by rhizomes, but is not considered too aggressive.

General Bistort Information

Pests And Diseases

No serious insect or disease problems, this is a pretty bullet proof plant.


Divide the root stock in early autumn, or in spring; both times work equally well.

Garden Uses

Use in partially shaded borders, cottage gardens, margins of streams, ponds, or water gardens.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Polygonaceae
  • Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 3 to 9
  • Height: 24 to 36 inches
  • Spread: 18 to 24 inches
  • Bloom Time: May to July
  • Bloom Description: Pink
  • Sun: Part shade
  • Water: Medium
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Flowers: Showy flowers
  • Leaves: Good fall color
  • Attracts: Birds, butterfly’s
  • Tolerates: Drought, deer, rabbits

Photo Search

Google – Bistort Photos

Flicker – Bistort Photos

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  1. Hi Charlie, this looks like a beautiful plant. I’m not familiar with it. I suppose it would hate my hot summers, but I think it could be a spring bloomer here. By the way, I watched the Pink Glove video. Thanks for posting that. I loved it and can identify in more ways than one!
    debsgarden recently posted..A Sensational Day in the Front GardenMy Profile

  2. Well, well, well. I have NEVER heard of this and it’s so pretty and it apparently grows in my neck o’ the woods. Must look into finding seeds.
    Linda Jones recently posted..Tanenashi PersimmonMy Profile

  3. I have a dark red version here, maybe a pink version ought to join it! Lovely plant.
    Pauline recently posted..GBBD. September flowers.My Profile

  4. Hi Charlie,
    I’ve just discovered Persicaria. Like Pauline I have the dark red and will definitely be on the look out for this one now too, beautiful colour. And I have a lot of damp shade to fill!
    rusty duck recently posted..September BloomersMy Profile

  5. I don’t know bistort, but I sure want to. Thanks to you, I’m now on the hunt; I’ve plenty of room in my newly becoming garden here in Georgia.

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever seen these, Charlie.
    They are really beautiful.
    It seems like I learn something new each tome I visit you here.
    Thank you for that!

  7. Hi Charlie, thanks for visiting my blog. Yours is also very versatile and enjoyable – I shall be back! Before I go: I very much like Persicaria especially the dark red ones like Firetail and Inverleith.
    Annette recently posted..SeptemberMy Profile

  8. I noticed the zone for these goes up to 9. I may try some, although we’re on the cusp of 10. Do they come in colors besides pink/red?
    karen recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: September 18, 2013My Profile

  9. I have only seen pink and red, that is an interesting question Karen and I’m going to start looking for an answer.
    Charlie@Seattle Trekker recently posted..Pearlbush: Abundant Masses Of Bridal-White FlowersMy Profile

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