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Description

Red buckwheat is one of the most attractive of our California native buckwheats. This variety comes from parts of San Miguel and Santa Cruz Islands, has a clumping habit and produces rose-pink flowers that ascend on 18-24 in. tall above attractive pale green foliage.

Red buckwheat is recommended for bank and border plantings in combination with other California drought-tolerant perennials and wildflowers. It contributes to a garden's interest with its elegant flowering and attraction to butterflies. This variety needs well-drained soils and low amounts of summer water; it is often a short-lived plant, lasting 3-5 years.

Water Needs

Red buckwheat grows well in Inland Empire gardens in areas of full sun and with low amounts of summer water. The chart shown below provides a recommended baseline guide to the monthly irrigation schedule and volume of supplemental water needed to maintain healthy growth throughout the average year. It should be noted there are several months indicated by an asterisk (*) when winter rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water and you should make irrigation adjustments based on field observations of growth and character. Understory leaf litter should be allowed to dry out in between periodic summer watering to avoid excessive growth and disease problems.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Low Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 1

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 1x 0x to 2x 0x to 2x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 0" to 2" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 0" to 2" 0" to 2"

Range of supplemental summer water: 7"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-10"

 
0"-2"
0"-2"
0"-2"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
1"
0"-2"
0"-2"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Perennial, Native
Foliage Character: Evergreen
Habit: Mounding, Compact
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Width: 2 ft. - 3 ft.
Water Needs: Low 1
Foliage Color: Pale green
Flower Color: Red, Pink
Flower Season: Summer
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Calcareous soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Drought, Coastal salt air, All day sun
Function: Wildlife value, Slopes, Banks, Attracts butterflies, Small spaces

Maintenance

After flowering, leave spent flowers to dry into red / brown clusters. This is part of the desired look of native buckwheats. The seeds develop into valuable wildlife food and help shade the plant in the summer heat (1). "Deadheading" buckwheats would be tedious and time consuming and would take away much of what there is to love about this plant. Keep things easy and don't worry about it (S). If desired, remove dried seed heads beginning in mid-September and into the fall (1). Older plants that look like they need refreshing can be cut back hard into older wood in November. Expect new growth to emerge within a few weeks (1)

References

Associations

Plant Lists