Elephant Ears Calling
An attractive looking perennial is showing off its beautiful blooms this time of year!
Ligularia, sometimes known as Rayflower, Elephant Ears, or Leopard plant is in full bloom and it is very hard to miss, as it produces brightly coloured yellow or orange flowers that rise above the foliage.
The foliage is equally attractive. It has very large dark coloured leaves that look almost like rhubarb leaves which is most likely where the name ‘elephant ears’ comes from.
There are different varieties of Ligularia.
Ligularia ‘wilsoniana, produce yellow daisy like flowers that grow on tall 1.2-1.5 meter spikes that rise above the plants foliage. They come into bloom around mid summer and the flowers last for a few weeks. The large round shaped leaves are dark green.
Ligularia ‘Dentata Britt Marie Crawford’ produces clusters of golden orange daisy like flowers on 1.3 meters tall stems. The foliage is a dark chocolate colour
Ligularia’s are a shade loving perennial. Plant them in a moist area that receives afternoon shade. They grow well in areas near water such as pond sides, streams, bogs or low lying areas. They do not tolerate dry soils and are not drought tolerant. During dry spells give them a deep thorough watering, as they have long roots that go down looking for water.
When the weather becomes hot the plant has a tendency to wilt which is its way to conserving moisture, and by evening when the temperatures cool down it should perk up again. The plant itself forms a clump and is non invasive.
They are a long-lived perennial that seldom need to be divided, so once they have become established they can be left to grow there for many years. They can be divided after three or four years to propagate new plants.
Ligularias are rarely bothered by pests or disease and are somewhat deer resistant. The flowers are known to attract butterflies, and also make attractive cut flowers.
If you are looking to plant something in a moist shady area of the yard, perhaps a Ligularia, will be the right choice!
Jos Van Hage owns and operates two Art Knapp Home and Garden Centres in Prince George:
- Highway 16 West at Kimball Road
- Highway 97 North at Northwood Pulpmill Road