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How to Grow Doronicum – Leopard’s Bane

Doronicum 'Miss Mason'
Doronicum 'Miss Mason'

Doronicum, commonly called leopard’s bane, is a perennial that bears yellow, daisy-like flower heads in spring. Plants are deciduous and go dormant in summer after blooming.

Doronicum grows from tubers. The flowerheads are composed of many ray florets—petals—surrounding slightly dome-shaped yellow centers which consist of densely packed disc florets. Flowers appear one per stem.

Overplant Doronicum with shallow-rooted annuals such as impatiens to fill the space they leave when they go dormant in summer.

The Doronicum genus includes about 35 species.

Doronicum cordatum
Doronicum cordatum

Get to Know Doronicum

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 4 to 8
  • Hardiness: Usually dies back to the ground in summer
  • Height and width:
  • Foliage: Low, dense clumps of toothed, rounded to heart-shaped dark green leaves
  • Flowers: Showy yellow daisies; 2- to 3-inch blooms on slender stems; plants go dormant after blooming
  • Bloom time: Early to mid-spring
  • Uses: Plant at the edge of woodland or shade border; good cutting flowers
  • Common name: Leopard’s bane
  • Botanical name: Doronicum
  • Family name: Asteraceae
  • Origin: Europe, Southwestern Asia

Where to Plant Doronicum

  • Plant Doronicum in partial sunlight or light dappled shade.
  • Grow Doronicum in humus-rich, well-drained soil.
Leopard’s bane or Doronicum orientale

When to Plant Doronicum

  • Set Doronicum in the garden in spring after the last frost.
  • Start seeds indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost for transplanting into the garden in spring.

Planting and Spacing Doronicum

  • Space Doronicum 2 to 4 feet (.6-1.2m) apart depending on the variety.

How to Water and Feed Doronicum

  • Keep the soil evenly moist for best blooms. Doronicum does not tolerate dry soil or drought.
  • Fertilize Doronicum with an all-purpose organic fertilizer in spring.
 Doronicum orientale
Doronicum orientale

Doronicum Care

  • Mark the location of plants before they go dormant in summer.

Doronicum Pests and Diseases

  • Leaf spot and root rot can be a problem.
  • Doronicum is susceptible to powdery mildew.

Doronicum Propagation

  • Divide clumps every 2 to 3 years. Divide plants in early autumn.
  • Sow seeds in containers in spring.

Doronicum Varieties to Grow

  • Doronicum cordatum (D. caucasicum): Flower heads borne singly on 12-inch stems; cultivars include ‘Magnificum’ and ‘Finesse’.
  • D. x excelsum: Hybrid grows to 2 feet tall; bears 4-inch golden-yellow flowers in spring.
  • D. ‘Miss Mason’: Hybrid with large, bright yellow daisies on 30-inch plants.
  • D. orientale. See D. cordatum.
  • D. pardalianches, great leopard’s bane: Species bears pale yellow 2-inch-wide flowers on branched stems in late spring.
  • D. plantagineum, plantain leopard’s bane: Grows to 3 feet tall with coarse leaves.

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