Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Front Page - WITH HE­LEN

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.

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