Evergreen from southwestern Australia. Thick rootstocks send up fans of dark green, swordlike leaves and spikes bearing fuzzy, tubular flowers in red, purple, green, or yellow. The striking blooms are curved at the tips like kangaroo paws (tips are split into six segments). Plants bloom from late spring to fall if spent flowering spikes are cut to the ground. Good cut flowers. Grow in light sandy soil orheavier soil amended to improve drainage. Control snails and slugs.
Kangaroo paws hybridize freely in nature and in cultivation. The following areamong the many superior garden plants that have beendeveloped. Foliage clumpsrange from a foot across (formost dwarf varieties) to about3 ft. wide; the smaller typesmake good container subjects.
‘Big Red’. Extra-large brightred blossoms top 3–4-ft.-tallstems.
Bush Gems series. Thesewere bred to resist the leaf androot diseases that afflict kangaroo paws. Two of the best are 2 1/2–3-ft., easy-to-grow ‘Bush Gold’, which bears clear lemon yellow flowers above lime green leaves over a long bloom season, and 1 1/2–2 1/2-ft. ‘Bush Ranger’, a long-lived variety with clear red blooms. Other good varieties include ‘Bush Baby’, with flowers blending red, orange, and yellow on 1 1/2-ft. stems; ‘Bush Emerald’, bearingsurprising green flowers withcontrasting yellow throats andbrilliant orange anthers on2–2 1/2-ft. stems; ‘Bush Lantern’, a bright yellow dwarf 1–2 ft. tall; and ‘Bush Pearl’, with bubblegum pink blossoms on 2-ft. stems.
‘Harmony’. Yellow flowers on tall (4–6 ft.) stems clothed with bright red hairs.
‘Pink Joey’. Silvery pink flowerson stems 1–3 ft. high.
Briefly deciduous. To 40–60 ft. tall; pyramidal in youth but more spreading (toabout 30 ft.) in maturi...
Ground cover native to South Africa. Forms a tight mat 2 to 3 in. high, spreading slowly by offsets to...
Australian ground cover to 3 ft. high, 6 ft. wide. It spreads steadily in loose, well-drained soil by ...