Leonotis leonurus

Leonotis leonurus

I have known this plant almost all my life, because it grew in my family's garden for many years, my mother being particularly fond of its vibrant-coloured blooms. A South African plant (ht 1.8 m), it flourishes in our climate. Thin, pungent-smelling leaves provide the backdrop to spires of velvety, orange flower clusters in late summer and autumn. Canna 'Tropicanna', with its orange-marked foliage is an excellent planting companion for lion's tail.

Leonotis leonurus

There is also a white-flowered Leonotis leonurus, which pairs well with white-variegated foliage plants such as Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus' (pictured). Leonotis leonurus can be cut back hard in late winter. It grows best in full sun but can also cope with a bit of shade. It dislikes hard frosts. It needs no special treatment.

Flowers in March, April.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.