Paw-fection: Everything you need to know to grow Kangaroo Paws
Kangaroo Paws are a bright and beautiful staple of Cranbourne Gardens, with many of us growing these glorious Western Australian natives in our own backyards. The unique fuzzy flowers on these beauties evolved their unique kangaroo paw-esque shape to attract their pollinators, honeyeater birds. These velvety flowers range from vibrant red to bright yellow, orange, and pink, as well as the exceptional black-green colour of the Black Kangaroo Paw.
Of the twelve species of Kangaroo Paw, 11 belong to the Anigozanthos genus, with the Black Kangaroo Paw being the sole member of the Macropidia genus. Whatever colour you decide on, these are a fabulous addition to the home garden, so if you're looking for advice to grow these beautiful bird-magnets successfully at home, look no further!
Planting and Soil
Kangaroo Paw Plants thrive in sandy, nutrient-poor soil, so if you're planting into a container, add a couple of scoops of sand to your potting mix to help emulate the plant's natural environment. If you're planting directly into the ground, aim for free-draining soil. Taller Kangaroo Paw hybrids tend to handle heavy soils better than other species. Smaller Kangaroo Paw varieties work well in containers, as long as you place them in a sunny spot in the garden or on your patio or deck.
Kangaroo paws grow best and are happiest when they are situated in full sun. Not enough sunlight results in floppy stems, so ideally place your plants where they will receive around six hours of direct sunlight each day. As they are so hardy and drought tolerant, you can plant them in the farthest sunny corners of your landscape, where they will thrive when more or less left to their own devices.
Kangaroo Paws evolved to tolerate the dry habitat of Western Australia, and once established, this lown-maintenance only needs a thorough watering around once a week. That being said, your Kangaroo Paw plant will bloom more plentifully during its growing season if it receives about 20mm of water each week over spring and summer when it's flowering.
Kangaroo Paws Can be susceptible to fungal ink spot disease, which manifests as black spots that slowly blacken entire leaves and stems of the plant. Prune off any infected leaves and stems and make sure there is plenty of air circulation around the plant by not overcrowding your plants.
As the earliest flowers die off during blooming, prune these stems back to just above the leaves on the lower sections of the flower spike to allow a new flower spike to develop from the base of these leaves. As your Kangaroo Paw plants begin to die back at the end of flowering, they will respond well to heavy pruning. Cut the plants back to 7 cm after blooms have faded, and their leaves start to go brown.
Kangaroo Paws don't require regular application of fertilizer. Adding a few cups of compost to the soil during late spring will suffice.