Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ligularias - My new Favorite

Ligularias are perennial flowers that blossom in yellow and light orange in summer on bold stems. Its name comes from the Latin word ligula, which means little tongue, referring to the tonguelike shape of the large petal on each of the ray flowers. The plump, large leaves in rosettes are either round or kidney-shaped and are sometimes toothed.

Ligularias do best in partial shade and good, humus-rich garden soil that is kept evenly moist. Since the roots form large clumps, plenty of space should be allowed between plants.
Propagation: By division in spring or from seed.
Uses: Ligularias are great in the back of shady beds, along borders, in bogs, or planted at the edge of water gardens. The plants prefer afternoon shade.

I fell in love with this variety (top photo):

Ligularia dentata Desdemona

It has green leaves up to a foot wide and yellow flowers.

Good to know:
Hardiness: USDA zone 4-8.
Mature size: Height: 3 feet (1 m), Width: 3 feet (1 m).
Flowering period: July and August.
Flowering: Bright yellow-orange flowers on long maroon-purple stems.
Leaf: Large, deep green, kidney shaped leaves with purple undersides.
Growth habit: Clump-forming.
Light: Morning sun and afternoon shade.
Soil: Humus rich, very moist soil.
Feeding: Side dress with compost or manure. Fertilize in spring and again in early summer with a complete organic fertilizer.
Propagation Methods: Sow seed in autumn and place in a cold frame. Seed usually produces same as parent. Divide in spring or after it is done flowering.
Pests and Diseases: Slugs are a nuisance by making holes in the leaves, but with lots of mulch around it and maybe a ring of crushed egg shells you can keep these pest away.

Ligularia 'Dark Beauty' is remarkable with its large, dark foliage, adding a tropical look to shady areas. The clear yellow-orange flowers bring color to the dark side of the garden.