How to Grow Ligularlia — Leopard Plant


Ligularia–commonly called leopard plant–bears large, orange-yellow daisy-like flowers from midsummer to early fall. The plant is an upright, clump-forming perennial with large, leathery, heart-shaped rich green leaves.

Ligularia is a genus of perennials with broad basal leaves showily marked and numerous yellow flowerheads on 5-foot stems. It is a striking subject in borders and is easily grown from seed.

Ligularia grows in ordinary garden soil.

Ligularia is a genus of about 150 species of large, robust, often coarse perennials.

 bright yellow flowers of a Ligularia przewalskii.
Long inflorescence with bright yellow flowers of a Ligularia przewalskii.

Get to Know Leopard Plant

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 5 to 8
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -30°F (-34°C)
  • Height and width: 3 to 4 feet (1-1.2m) tall; 3 to 5 feet (1-1.5m) wide
  • Foliage: Basal leaves can be oblong or elliptic or rounded
  • Flowers: Racemes of a few or many daisy-like
  • Flower colors: Yellow, orange
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Shady beds, woodland garden, near water, massed in groups of 5 or more
  • Common name: Ligularia, leopard plant
  • Botanical name: Ligularia spp.
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • Origin: moist meadows and grasslands in Central and East Asia

Where to Plant Ligularia

  • Plant Ligularia in light, afternoon shade in Zone 5 and in hot regions in Zones 6-8.
  • Grow Ligularia in humus-rich, moist to wet soil.

Ligularia Uses and Companions

  • Grow Ligularia in a mixed or herbaceous border.
  • Use Ligularia in a naturalistic, shady, wet to boggy site along pond or stream.
  • Good companions for Ligularia include Aruncus dioicus, Cimicifuga, Eupatorium, Iris, Lobelia cardinalis.
Leopard plant, Ligularia dentata
Leopard plant, Ligularia dentata

When to Plant Ligularia

  • Set Ligularia in the garden in spring; add aged compost to the planting bed in advance of planting.
  • Sow seed of species Ligularia in autumn.

Planting and Spacing Ligularia

  • Space Ligularia 2 to 3 feet apart; mass plants in groups of 5 or more.
  • Sow seed 1/8 inch deep in evenly prepared soil.

How to Water and Feed Ligularia

  • Ligularia needs ample water; do not let the soil dry out.
  • Fertilize ligularia with an all-purpose fertilizer every 6 weeks or apply a slow-release fertilizer in spring.

Ligularia Care

  • Mulch around ligularia to conserve soil moisture.
  • Trim off spent flower spikes after blooming.
  • Leaves may droop in warm, humid weather; leaves will recover when the humidity drops.
  • Protect plants from slugs and snails.

Ligularia Pests and Disease

  • Slugs and snails may damage emerging leaves in spring.
Leaves of Ligularia dentata
Leaves of Ligularia dentata

Ligularia Propagation

  • Ligularia seeds germinate in14-42 days at 55°F to 65°F (13°-18°C).
  • Sow the seed of species in containers outdoors in autumn or spring
  • Divide species or cultivars in spring after flowering.

Ligularia Varieties to Grow

  • Ligularia dentata: grown for attractive roundish leaves; sends up 3 to 5 feet stems topped by heads of orange daisies; cultivar ‘Desdemona’ has round, deep-red spring leaves; large yellow daisies in clusters on stems 1 to 2 feet.
  • L. hessei ‘Gregynog Gold’ grows to 6 feet tall and bears conical spikes of yellow-orange flowers.
  • L. przewalskii similar to L. stenocephala: bears slender dense racemes of yellow flowers heads; grows to 6 feet tall; palmately lobed leaves.
  • L. stenocephala is known for the cultivar ‘Rocket’ which has pointed, serrated leaves; yellow flowers on spikes to 5 feet tall.
  • L. tussilaginea is a houseplant in all zones and grown outdoors in Zones 6 to 9; bears yellow ray flower heads; cultivars include ‘Aureo-marginata’ called leopard plant for its blotched leaves; ‘Argentea’ and ‘Crispata.’
  • L. wilsoniana, giant groundsel, bears columnar spikes of golden yellow flowers on 6-foot stems.

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