Name: leopard plant, Ligularia (Farfugium japonicum)
Height: 60cm tall and wide
Climate: cold temperate, temperate, sub-tropical, tropical.
Soil: moist, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.
Position: hardy in light, filtered shade under trees. Protect from hot sun.
Flowering: small yellow daisy-like flowers.
Foliage: large, leathery, round or kidney-shaped leaves with white, yellow or cream markings.
Feeding: feed in spring with general-purpose fertiliser.
Watering: water regularly to keep soil moist, particularly in hot, dry weather.
This bold foliage plant has spectacular dinner plate-sized rounded, kidney shaped or ruffled leaves. Some are variegated in cream and white, or have bold yellow “leopard” spots. Small yellow daisy-like flowers appear on long stems (up to 100cm) in late spring and summer, but this plant is mostly grown for its striking foliage.
This plant is great for containers or borders in part or light shade. It makes a gorgeous addition to a shady tropical-style foliage garden, or looks perfect mass-planted around a water feature as a striking accent plant.
Water your leopard plant regularly, especially during hot dry weather, and don’t ever let it dry out. Keep it moist when it’s actively growing in spring and summer. Give it a feed in spring with a good-quality general-purpose pellet fertiliser or liquid feed, always following the directions on the packet.
Slugs and snails love to eat leopard plant’s big juicy leaves, so make sure you protect them by scattering snail bait, or you could try a snail trap.
Leopard plant is easily divided in spring. Simply dig and divide the clumps using a sharp knife or spade, then replant or pot up the new plants.
Colocasia: with large, heart-shaped leaves in green, purple or black, this is a great accent plant for shady areas or to plant around ponds.
Lamium: great ground cover for shady spots under trees, boasting silver triangular leaves with contrasting green edges and pink flowers in spring and summer.
Hosta: shade-loving foliage plant with heart shaped leaves in greens, blues, greys and creams. Perfect to plant among bleeding hearts as a cover as they go into dormancy.
Dwarf sweet flag: the leaves of this short, grass-like plant grow up in fans; great for a damp, shady spot.
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