Kangaroo Paw

21 Mar

Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos), evergreen, stiff upright growth to 2-3 ft., tall branched stems bear tubular hairy flowers in red, orange, pink,  green or yellow spring through fall, full sun, any soil, draught tolerant, attracts hummingbirds.

The genus is native to the southwestern region of Australia. There are 2 groups of species, one tall with branched stems, and the other low in habit and unbranched. The unique, fuzzy flowers often last 1-2 months, making them a great choice for sunny borders and perennial beds.

Thick rootstocks send up fans of dark green, swordlike leaves and spikes bearing fuzzy, tubular flowers in red, purple, green, or yellow. The striking blooms are curved at the tips like kangaroo paws (tips are split into six segments). Plants bloom from late spring to fall if spent flowering spikes are cut to the ground. Good cut flowers. Grow in light sandy soil or heavier soil amended to improve drainage. Control snails and slugs.

Anigozanthos hybrids

Kangaroo paws hybridize freely in nature and in cultivation. The following areamong the many superior garden plants that have been developed. Foliage clumps range from a foot across (for most dwarf varieties) to about 3 ft. wide; the smaller types make good container subjects.

‘Big Red’. Extra-large brightred blossoms top 3–4-ft.-tallstems.

Bush Gems series. These were bred to resist the leaf and root diseases that afflict kangaroo paws. Two of the best are 2 1/2–3-ft., easy-to-grow ‘Bush Gold’, which bears clear lemon yellow flowers above lime green leaves over a long bloom season, and 1 1/2–2 1/2-ft. ‘Bush Ranger’, a long-lived variety with clear red blooms. Other good varieties include ‘Bush Baby’, with flowers blending red, orange, and yellow on 1 1/2-ft. stems; ‘Bush Emerald’, bearing surprising green flowers with contrasting yellow throats and brilliant orange anthers on 2–2 1/2-ft. stems; ‘Bush Lantern’, a bright yellow dwarf 1–2 ft. tall; and ‘Bush Pearl’, with bubblegum pink blossoms on 2-ft. stems.

‘Harmony’. Yellow flowers on tall (4–6 ft.) stems clothed with bright red hairs.

‘Pink Joey’. Silvery pink flowerson stems 1–3 ft. high.

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