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Information About Kangaroo Paws Plants

Information About Kangaroo Paws Plants


Kangaroo Paw Plant – How To Plant And Care For Kangaroo Paws

By Amy Grant

Growing kangaroo paws can be a rewarding endeavor for the home gardener due to its brilliant colors and exotic form with flowers resembling, yes, a kangaroo paw. Read here to learn more about this plant.


GARDENING AUSTRALIA

SERIES 16 | Episode 04

With their distinctive flowers and diversity of colours and forms, Anigozanthos kangaroo paws are among the most rewarding Australian plants. They grow from an underground rhizome and produce beautiful flowers on long stems mainly during spring and summer. There are many new varieties of kangaroo paws and Melissa visited a nursery on the central coast of New South Wales to show us how to get the best out of them. Growing naturally only in the south west of Western Australia, they're now widely available to gardeners, thanks to the efforts of plant breeders such as Angus Stewart.

Angus's interest in kangaroo paws started as a child. His grandmother was a wild flower painter, who used to traipse all over the countryside and Angus used to go out with her, collecting flowers for her to paint. She had kangaroo paws in her garden and that's when the love affair started.

Angus has been breeding Australian plants for 20 years and has developed an extensive range of new kangaroo paw varieties with improved form, flower colour and disease resistance.

He explains the process of taking wild flowers, which need to be domesticated and cross-bred to come up with plants that have all the characteristics that are going to make them great garden plants. Angus's all time favourite kangaroo paw that he's developed is Anigozanthos 'Bush Pearl' which is a vibrant pink.

Angus has a garden where he trials tall varieties and very short ones. There are a great selection of Anigozanthos flavidus hybrids, which are all very tall, but very tough. These are ideal for people who want a low maintenance kangaroo paw that performs year after year. Then there are smaller varieties, which are fantastic for pots or garden borders. They need a little bit more care and maintenance to get the best of out them. Anigozanthos 'Bush Inferno', is a bright red one, and Anigozanthos 'Bush Gold' is yellow.

To get the best out of your kangaroo paws grow them in full sun with good drainage. You can also add a small amount of organic matter to the soil to help improve growth. They do have a slightly higher demand for water during early spring and summer, which helps maintain the longevity of the blooms. But outside that, they're quite drought tolerant. Pruning is the key to keeping kangaroo paws healthy and vigorous. You might be shocked at what Angus recommends.

Angus likes to use the tractor, or even a lawnmower, to prune large areas of kangaroo paw. But for smaller areas there are more subtle methods. Cutting them back hard is the main thing, right to ground level is best because all the growing points are underground. You could also use secateurs. Sometimes when they're in mid-flower, little buds emerge, so don't cut these back and you may get a second burst of flowering.

Cutting back also helps reduce the incidence of disease. The dreaded ink spot that people often mention with kangaroo paws is something that attacks the leaves. It can be caused by fungal diseases, but it can also be caused by snails and frost damages - anything which kills the leaf tissue will blacken it. So by cutting all that leaf off, you get beautiful, fresh new leaves which gives the plant a really vigorous green appearance.

This time of year, just after you've cut them back, a good handful of slow release fertiliser just sprinkled around the base is ideal. If you do that again in spring, when they're in the middle of their growth flush, you'll be richly rewarded. Something else you can do at this time of year, summer and into autumn, is divide the plant. When the clumps get really big it's time to sink in the spade to divide the plant into pieces and then you've got new plants.

Like a lot of garden plants, the kangaroo paws can look a bit tired after they flower, so this maintenance helps revitalise them, encouraging nice healthy new growth and lots more flowers for next season. They're a fabulous bird-attracting plant, drought tolerant as well, and they're an icon of the native garden.


How to Care for a Kangaroo Paw Plant

Kangaroo paw plant, also known by its scientific name, Anigozanthos, is a perennial plant valued for its ornamental flowers and ease of care. The plant blooms during spring and summer, producing numerous flowers in shades of red, purple, yellow or black, depending on the variety. The plant's common name originates from its flowers, which resemble small kangaroo paws. Native to Australia, kangaroo paw thrives in warm growing conditions and American gardeners often grow the plant in containers for easier transport indoors when temperatures drop.

Plant kangaroo paw plant during mid-spring in a location that receives about six to eight hours of full sun each day and has well-drained, sandy, acidic soil. Space kangaroo paw plants at least 18 to 20 inches apart.

Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the soil surrounding the kangaroo paw plant to insulate the soil, increase moisture retention and deter competitive weeds. Begin the mulch at least 3 inches from the plant's base to prevent plant from developing fungal diseases from a lack of air circulation.

  • Kangaroo paw plant, also known by its scientific name, Anigozanthos, is a perennial plant valued for its ornamental flowers and ease of care.
  • Begin the mulch at least 3 inches from the plant's base to prevent plant from developing fungal diseases from a lack of air circulation.

Water kangaroo paw plant once per week during the spring and summer to keep the soil consistently moist, but not wet or soggy. Reduce the watering frequency to once every 10 days during fall and once every two weeks throughout winter.

Fertilize the plant once per month during spring, summer and fall to provide proper nutrition for flower production. Use a low-phosphorous 20-10-20 NPK fertilizer at the rate described by the manufacturer's instructions for the best results.

Maintain a constant temperature of 40 to 80 degrees F for optimal growth. Plant kangaroo paw in a container if temperatures in your area regularly leave this range. Keep the container outdoors and transfer indoors when the temperature drops below 40 degrees F or rises above 80 degrees F to prevent the plant from becoming stressed.

  • Water kangaroo paw plant once per week during the spring and summer to keep the soil consistently moist, but not wet or soggy.
  • Keep the container outdoors and transfer indoors when the temperature drops below 40 degrees F or rises above 80 degrees F to prevent the plant from becoming stressed.

Use pine needles, chopped leaves or wood chips to mulch kangaroo paw plant.

Plant kangaroo paw any time of year, though a spring planting yields the best results.

Kangaroo paw plant tolerates short periods outside its recommended temperature range, but extended periods may cause permanent damage or failure to thrive and flower.


General Maintenance

Cutting the stems of wilted blooms to ground level promotes vigorous blooming throughout the growing season. Similarly, cutting the entire plant down to about 4 inches in late winter removes old, dead foliage and makes room for new growth in spring. Kangaroo paw tends to decline in quality as time goes by and is revitalized by division every three to five years. Dig the plant, divide it into smaller clumps, and plant the small clumps in soil that has been improved by the addition of compost, manure or other organic material.


How to Get Rid of Powdery Mildew on Plants

Last Updated: August 19, 2020 References Approved

This article was co-authored by Artemisia Nursery. Artemisia Nursery is a retail plant nursery in Northeast Los Angeles specializing in California native plants. Artemisia Nursery is a worker-owned small business with plans to become a worker-owned cooperative. In addition to California native plants, Artemisia Nursery offers a selection of succulents, heirloom veggie and herb starts, house plants, pottery, and gardening tools and supplies. Drawing on the knowledge of the founders, Artemisia Nursery also offers consultations, designs, and installations.

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Powdery mildew is a fungus that looks like flour dusted on plants, often in circular spots. It most commonly appears on leaves, but can also attack stems, flowers, and fruit. Infected leaves can twist, break, turn yellow, and dry out. To get rid of powdery mildew, you’ll need a fungicidal spray. Fortunately, organic fungicidal sprays are easy to make at home. You’ll also want to take other precautions at preventing powdery mildew from occurring in the first place.


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