GARDENING WITH DEBBI
WINTER is the perfect time to plant Australian natives and one standout favourite is the Kangaroo paw.
Known for their velvety covered tubular flowers which rise on stalks above the green foliage, they make beautiful garden specimens and cut flowers.
The tubular flower buds form a claw like structure which resembles a kangaroo paw, hence its name.
Kangaroo paws, known botanically as Anigozanthos are native only to the southwest of Western Australia, although thanks to plant breeders, are now widely available and grown around the world.
They are grown commercially, for the floral industry in Australia, the United States, Japan and Israel.
There are 11 known species, several sub species and hybrids, with the size, height of the flower stalk and colour of the flowers differing between the species.
The closely related Black Kangaroo Paw is called Macropidia fulginosa.
Kangaroo paws are perennials, although most species are dormant over winter, with some dying back completely, so be careful not to over water, especially container specimens.
To maintain health and vigour, cut them back to ground level in late winter, to encourage healthy new growth and lots more flowers.
Grow them in full sun, in a free draining soil with some added organic matter. Water them regularly during the flowering period, to prolong the life of the blooms.
Anigozanthos flavidus is the tallest growing, with flower stalks reaching up to two metres.
The flowers are usually yellow-green, but other colours are available.
Anigozanthos manglesii, better known as the Red and Green Kangaroo Paw, is the floral emblem of Western Australia.
The flowers grow on a red stalk and grow to about 1m. The cultivar Anigozanthos ‘Bush Emerald’ has similar coloured flowers. Anigozanthos ‘Dwarf Delight’ grows to about 80 cm, is frost hardy and has apricot coloured flowers.
Anigozanthos ‘Bush Ranger’ features orange flowers and grows to around 50cm. Anigozanthos ‘Bush Inferno’ has bright red flowers and Anigozanthos ‘Bush Gold’ has yellow flowers.
Kangaroo paws can be propagated from collected seed during spring and summer or by dividing clumps into pieces late summer and autumn.