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Spring 2024

Kangaroo paws

Photo: GardenSoft
Photo: GardenSoft

Looking to add an exotic touch to your garden? Kangaroo paws are up for the job. This Australian native is a clump-forming evergreen perennial that bears fuzzy, tubular flowers on upright stems spring through fall. Each bloom looks like a cute little kangaroo paw, hence its common name. Anigozanthos comes in a wide range of sizes and colors, including yellow, pink, orange, and red. It does best in full sun and well-drained, sandy soil. A versatile choice, it tolerates coastal areas as well as warm inland valleys.

This plant expands from short underground rhizomes. For best results, cut the spent flower spikes to the ground after flowering and take care not to damage the new leaves as they emerge. Like all Australian native plants, avoid fertilizers with phosphorus and feel free to plant where deer are present because they will not find these little paws very tasty. On the other hand, the hummingbirds are sure to swing by for a taste, as they can’t resist the tubular flowers.

Kangaroo paws are easy to grow and make excellent cut flowers. Although they appreciate regular water, the sap in their root system allows them to survive extreme dry spells. Anigozanthos is a regular at nurseries. Size varies, ranging from one to three feet wide, with flowering stalks up to six feet tall depending on the species.

Check out these common kangaroo paws.