Anigozanthos – “Kangaroo Paw”
This striking plant is native to the southwest corner of Australia, a Mediterranean climate region with hot dry summers and mild winters, much like our own. The foliage is green and strap like forming a clump whose size can vary depending on the cultivar -from A. flavidus which can attain 3 to 4 foot clumps to A. rufus which usually stays under 2 feet . Blooms are tubular with velvety petals held above the foliage on strong stems and thanks to the efforts of hybridizers worldwide are available in many colors and thus can fit in with most garden design color palettes. They are first rate cut flowers with a long vase life, adding an exotic flavor to the arrangement.
Anigozanthos should be planted in full sun, in a site with excellent drainage . Avoid areas that may experience standing water during winter rains. Most varieties can withstand our typically mild spells of frost, though it’s prudent to consider protection if temperatures are forecast to dip into the teens. They are characterized as drought tolerant but the flowers and the plant will typically perform better with regular summer water. After flowering is complete for the season, cut the entire plant down to about 6 inches. Fertilize sparingly and avoid high phosphorus plant foods, as some cultivars are sensitive to that element.