Arthur Chapman: Commons.wikimedia.org
Native to Australia, the kangaroo paw plant is known for its large, bright flowers and long, grasslike leaves. This perennial species earned its name from its fuzzy flowers, which are reminiscent of a kangaroo's paw. The flowers themselves bloom in the late spring through midsummer and come in colours like chartreuse, maroon and bronze. Whether grown indoors or outdoors, the kangaroo paw needs bright sunlight, water and well-drained soil. Kangaroo paws do require some attention to thrive, but their flowers and leaves offer a unique look to any garden.
Grow the kangaroo paw in the right conditions. Kangaroo paws grow best in full sunlight and well-drained soil. If you live in an area with regular frost, place the plant under a tree canopy for protection.
Provide the kangaroo paw with regular water in the spring and summer. Be careful not to overwater. In the fall and winter, the plant can be kept almost dry.
After the flowering period, spread a large handful of slow-release fertiliser around the base of the plant. Repeat this process in the spring, when the plant is in the midst of its growth flush.
After the flowering period, remove the old leaves, cutting them to the ground level. This will help stop the formation of disease and will allow the plant to grow fresh green leaves.
The kangaroo paw is prone to attracting snails, especially the European brown garden snail. If you find snails on your plant, remove them immediately.
In the autumn, you may want to divide the kangaroo paw into separate clumps if it has grown very large. Use a spade to divide the plant. Then, put the newly divided plants into a pot and place them in a shaded location. Keep the plants potted for several weeks to give them time to recover.
- The fuzzy flowers on the kangaroo paw can irritate skin. Be careful when handling the flowers and warn your children not to touch them.
- Arthur Chapman: Commons.wikimedia.org