Family: Haemodoraceae
Common Name: Kangaroo Paw

All species of this fascinating plant come from south-west Western Australia. In fact, the striking A. manglesii is the floral emblem of Western Australia. A number of species are available throughout Europe, such as A. manglesii, A. flavidus and some others of the many hybrids that have been produced. Their curious, woolly, paw-shaped flowers bloom over a long period at various times of the year and come in an outstanding range of colours from orange, pink and yellow to various shades of green and red. In the garden, they may attract wildlife. All of the species can be grown as border plants, or as pot plants under glass.


A. bicolor has greenish yellow spring flowers, with red stems to 45 cm (18 in), and narrow strap-shaped leaves to 30 cm (12 in) long. It can tolerate wet conditions. If the plants are not robust, the foliage will die down in summer.

The most commonly cultivated species is A. flavidus and extensive hybridization is being carried out, mostly using this hardy species as one parent. It has strappy, 60 cm (24 in) long leaves which form a spreading clump to 1 m (3 ft) across and greenish yellow to reddish flowers that are very attractive to birds. It is a vigorous grower. Cultivar 'Pink Joey' has smaller pink and red flowers and foliage.

A. Humilis, catspaw, is a smaller species which grows to a height of 25 cm (10 in). It has light green foliage and dense terminal clusters of flowers during winter and spring. colours vary from orange, orange-red and brown-red to various shades of pink and yellow. colours often combine. This species can become a herbaceous perennial, dying down in summer, and rejuvenating in autumn.

A. manglesii, red and green kangaroo paw, is quite a regal plant, with bright green and red flowers on long stems to 1.5 m (5 ft) and grayish green strap-like leaves which form clumps. The flowers bloom in spring.

A. preissii has beautiful orange-red flowers in spring and narrow, dark green leaves which die down after flowering. A. viridis, green kangaroo paw, has bright, almost iridescent, forest green flowers and narrow leaves to 30 cm (12 in) long. This species can tolerate dampness more than most kangaroo paws. It has a dormant period in summer.


In frost-prone Climates kangaroo paws are grown in pots in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory. They are best in a compost of loam, leaf mould and coarse sand, and in full light. Outdoors they look their best in groups, among rocks or combined with attractive native grasses. As all species are prone to attack by slugs and snails, use a snail-killing bait regularly. Blackening of the foliage, or ink disease, may be a problem, so do not overwater in warm humid weather or during the summer months. Hybrids that have some resistance to ink disease are now available. Propagate either by seed or by root division in autumn, which is more reliable. If using seed, sow in a well-drained, sandy mixture and cover lightly with soil. Germination is generally rapid. If dividing, it is best to pot new divisions until they are re-established. Divide clumped plants at least once every three years. Anigozanthos are well suited to pots or tubs, with good drainage, and can be used for long seasonal display on balconies and patios.


Suitable for growing outdoors in zone 10 and above.

Angraecum      Aniseed