As we all know the famous Kangaroo Paw Plant is a part of Australia’s flora and fauna. However it is grown in almost all the parts of the world. Mainly the care of all human beings towards the nature, forces them to fall in love with this beautiful flower.
Australia is the leading exporter of kangaroo paw flowers. The plants are grown commercially in the USA (growing zones 10 and 11), Israel, and Japan. As cut flowers too, they have a non-ceasing demand from florists. If proper care is taken, they last eight to 25 days in a vase.
Twelve species of kangaroo paw belong to the genus ‘Anigozanthos’, while the black kangaroo paw belongs to the genus ‘Macropidia’. Some varieties are tall (can be two to ten feet tall), while some are dwarf. The golden yellow, red, white, pink, green, or orange-colored flowers can enhance the beauty of your garden. They need full sun and they bloom in spring and summer. The strappy leaves are about 30 to 50 centimeters long. Each stem can have several flowers. Some varieties live for 7 years or more.
Growing a Kangaroo Paw
Kangaroo paws are rhizomatous herbaceous perennials, and can be propagated with seeds, but these days since a number of hybrids and cultivars have been developed, they are propagated by division of clumps. Also, most hybrids are sterile and do not produce seed.
- From Seeds
Seeds of many species of Anigozanthos are available in the market. If you want to grow plants from seeds, add a seed-raising mix to the pot and sow the seeds in it during spring or summer. Keep the mixture moist and lightly cover the pot until germination occurs. The plants require well-drained soils (sandy soils or loams), and full sun or dappled shade. They will start blooming after a year. When the buds are forming, make sure that the plants are well-watered (they should get at least one inch of water every week). When they are not blooming, they don’t need extra water.
A freely-draining mixture and well-composted organic matter can promote speedy growth of the plant. For germination of species like Anigozanthos, Blancoa, Conostylis, Haemodorum, seeds are first treated with smoke or smoked water. The growth and the bloom depend upon the soil, direct exposure to sun, atmospheric heat, and humidity. The result may vary from species to species.
- By Dividing the Clumps
Autumn is the best season to divide the clumps. See to it that each section contains two or three large shoots. Take suitable containers and plant the sections in well-drained potting mix. See to it that the shoots are at the same level as they were before. Trim all the leaves, leaving about one third of each leaf. To avoid direct sun, place the containers in a sheltered position. You can plant them in your garden, when the new leaves start growing. The roots also would come out of the drainage holes. Add some organic matter to the soil. If you want, you may divide large clumps into 2-3 big sections, and plant them directly at new locations in your garden. See to it that they are well watered until they start growing. The size of the flower stems can be 1.5 – 2 meters.
- By Tissue Culture
These days, commercial tissue culture is popular for growing kangaroo paw plants. Horticulturists can develop large numbers of clones of the original plant with the help of tissue culture. Anigozanthos flavidus DC. (tall kangaroo paw) is one of the most robust species that is found in the south western corner of Western Australia. The horticulture industry uses this variety to develop hybrids that grow well in different situations. If you are planning of buying some species, determine the color first, and buy the species in flower. Various hybrid varieties are known for the typical stem size, hardiness, flower color and size, flowering time, etc. Profuse flowering is characteristic of all hybrids.