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Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed)

Beginner
skill rating
3 hours care
per year
4m
Max height
1m
Max spread
1-2 years
To maturity
Low
Toxicity

Plant details

Botanical name

Phytolacca americana

Other names

Pokeweed, Red ink plant, American pokeweed, Pokeberry, Poke, Poke salad, Scoke, Pigeonberry, Inkberry, Phytolacca decandra, American nightshade, American spinach, Bear's root, Cancer-root, Coakum, Garget, Inkweed, Skoke berry, Virginia poke, American cancer

Genus

Phytolacca Phytolacca

Species

P. americana - P. americana is an erect, unpleasant-smelling perennial with branching, red-flushed stems and large, ovate to lance-shaped, mid-green leaves turning purple-flushed in autumn. Racemes of white to pink flowers bloom from midusmmer to early autumn followed by maroon to purple-black fruit in autumn.


Phytolacca americana is: Deciduous

Habit

Branching, Erect

Toxicity

Fruit is highly toxic and may be fatal if ingested. Leaves and roots are reportedly toxic. Contact with sap may irritate skin.

Flower

White in Summer; White in Autumn

Foliage

Mid-green in Spring; Mid-green in Summer; Mid-green, Flushed purple in Autumn

How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest free

Virus Virus

General care

Pruning

Remove faded flowers stems to avoid unwanted seedlings. Cut back in autumn. Use gloves when handling this plant. If unwelcome in your garden, remove all traces of root.

Propagation

Sow seed in a cold frame in autumn or spring. Divide in spring or autumn.

Propagation methods

Seed


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Where to grow

Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed) will reach a height of 4m and a spread of 1m after 1-2 years.

Suggested uses

Waterside, Cottage/Informal, Beds and borders, Woodland

Cultivation

Prefers fertile, moist soil in sun or partial shade. Young growth may be damaged by late frosts. Readily self-sows and may become invasive, particularly in non-native areas.

Soil type

Loamy, Clay

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

Companion plants

We do not currently have companion plants added for this plant.

Botanical name

Phytolacca americana

Other names

Pokeweed, Red ink plant, American pokeweed, Pokeberry, Poke, Poke salad, Scoke, Pigeonberry, Inkberry, Phytolacca decandra, American nightshade, American spinach, Bear's root, Cancer-root, Coakum, Garget, Inkweed, Skoke berry, Virginia poke, American cancer

Genus

Phytolacca Phytolacca

Species

P. americana - P. americana is an erect, unpleasant-smelling perennial with branching, red-flushed stems and large, ovate to lance-shaped, mid-green leaves turning purple-flushed in autumn. Racemes of white to pink flowers bloom from midusmmer to early autumn followed by maroon to purple-black fruit in autumn.

Foliage

Deciduous

Habit

Branching, Erect

Toxicity

Fruit is highly toxic and may be fatal if ingested. Leaves and roots are reportedly toxic. Contact with sap may irritate skin.


Colour

Flower

White in Summer; White in Autumn

Foliage

Mid-green in Spring; Mid-green in Summer; Mid-green, Flushed purple in Autumn


How to care

Watch out for

Pests

Generally pest free

Specific diseases

Virus

General care

Pruning

Remove faded flowers stems to avoid unwanted seedlings. Cut back in autumn. Use gloves when handling this plant. If unwelcome in your garden, remove all traces of root.

Propagation

Sow seed in a cold frame in autumn or spring. Divide in spring or autumn.

Propagation methods

Seed


Monthly care advice


Where to grow

Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed) will reach a height of 4m and a spread of 1m after 1-2 years.

Suggested uses

Waterside, Cottage/Informal, Beds and borders, Woodland

Cultivation

Prefers fertile, moist soil in sun or partial shade. Young growth may be damaged by late frosts. Readily self-sows and may become invasive, particularly in non-native areas.

Soil type

Loamy, Clay

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Light

Partial Shade, Full Sun

Aspect

North, South, East, West

Exposure

Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 11, Zone 10, Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6, Zone 5, Zone 4, Zone 3, Zone 2

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Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed)

Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed)

Phytolacca americana (Pokeweed)

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Soil types: Loamy, Clay Tell us...
Soil drainage: Moist but well-drained Tell us...
Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral Tell us...
Light: Partial Shade, Full Sun Tell us...
Aspect: North, South, East, West Tell us...
Exposure: Sheltered Tell us...
Hardiness: Hardy (H4) Tell us...

DISCUSS THIS PLANT

All parts toxic

Terrible plant to have around children. The berries are extremely inviting and can potentially cause respiratory paralysis. Toxins can also be absorbed through dermal absorbtion like Aconitum. So… read more

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