GAR­DEN­ING WITH DEBBI

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - WITH DEBBI GIB­SON, HOR­TI­CUL­TUR­AL­IST

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.

Happy gar­den­ing.

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