Plant of the Month

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Lion’s Tail
Leonotis leonurus

  • Plant Form: Semi-evergreen shrub
  • Water Use: Low
  • Mature Size: 3 – 6 ft. tall x 2-3 ft. wide
  • Exposure: Full sun
  • Bloom Time: Summer (Aug), Fall (Sept-Nov)
  • Native to: South Africa
  • Hardiness: Cold hardy to 20°F

This is a fun plant all around, showing off its curious rounded flower buds that look like miniature orange pumpkins nestled inside green cups — right in time for Halloween. The fur-like covering and edges of Lion’s Tail flowers do look reminiscent of lions’ tails or lions’ ears. While the prolific flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, they do not attract browsing deer and rabbits.

Lion’s Tail is prized for its dazzling, tubular flowers covered with a fur-like coat of fine hairs, said to resemble either lions’ tails or lions’ ears. Tiered whorls of orange blossoms encircle the square stems, which are covered with dark green, lance-shaped leaves. The abundant flowers are a magnet for hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, but seem to resist browsing by deer and rabbits. Cut flowers are good in arrangements. Plants are not fussy about soil type as long as it is well drained. This easy-care plant is virtually pest-free and disease-free. Prune yearly after flowering, and mulch well over winter to protect the wood crown from cold. If this more tender plant freezes back in winter, new growth often resprouts from hardened wood. Use this striking plant in borders and beds, containers, cottage and Mediterranean gardens, and even for screening.

 

Check out our “Garden Tasks” for October