KANGAROO Paws ( Anigozanthos species) are an iconic Western Australian flower.
Once considered a difficult-to-grow native plant, not all deserve bad press.
However, to successfully grow these eye-catching flowers there are some caveats.
There are 11 species of Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos sp.).
The red and green Western Australian emblem (Anigozanthos manglesii) flowers in mid-spring. It is a challenge to grow successfully. Treat it as an annual pot plant. Use good-quality well-drained potting soil, and place the pot under sunny north-facing eaves.
Protect from water regularly and keep excessive water off the leaves. Feed it fortnightly with a soluble all-round fertilizer. Watch out for snails. Anigozanthos ‘Bush Emerald’ has similar coloured flowers and is not such a fussy plant.
Much easier to grow are selected forms of Anigzanthos flavidus.
These taller-growing paws flower during the warmer months. Modern breeders have developed vibrant shades of yellow, green, red, pink, orange, purple and white. Plant in the garden in full or part sun. Flavidus forms will be a joy for many months. Water regularly and remove spent flower heads. Smaller forms such as ‘Bush Pearl’ and ‘Bush Ballad’ make attractive pot plants.
Tidy up plants in autumn or early winter by removing dead leaves and cutting back the remaining foliage. Some gardeners recommend burning the foliage to simulate a bushfire.
If your plants get too big, divide up by lifting the whole plant and chopping off sections with spade or axe.
Replant the sections with a slow-release all-purpose fertilizer and water in well. Kangaroo paws grow easily from fresh seed. Shake dry seed heads into a container. The seed looks like finely ground pepper. Plant immediately in seed-raising mix covered with fine sand and keep moist but not wet.
Prick out the plants when large enough to handle and plant out in spring.
They should flower in about 12 months.
HOME GROWN BEAUTY: Kangaroo Paws are a beautiful yet distinctive native plant.