Flowering this week: anigozanthos, probably a flavidus hybrid.

The Australian anigozanthus requires perfect drainage in our conditions

I have never been up close and personal with Kanga and certainly not so near that I can examine her feet, so the reason why the anigozanthos family are widely referred to as kanagaroo paws eludes me. While the flowers are slightly furry, that doesn’t seem sufficient reason to liken the two. But these interesting clumping, evergreen perennials from South Western Australia are worthwhile additions to the sunny garden, if for no other reason than that they flower most of the year.

The critical issue with anigozanthos is perfect drainage. Apparently flavidus is more tolerant of damper conditions than the other species (which may be why this yellow one thrives where we have lost others over time) but we are only talking tolerance of Australian damp which is not at all the same thing as Taranaki damp. Perfect drainage, a raised bed and very open conditions are still recommended.

Modern breeding has led to the commercial release of a range of jewel-like colour combinations going well beyond the common red and yellow toughies, more into the rosella parrot colourings. We have tried a number of these over the years and gradually lost the lot – you should have more success if you garden in sandy, coastal conditions. But the reliable yellows and reds give consistent and curious flowers in our rockery and are also good as a cut flower. This yellow plant puts up flower spikes to around 150cm and, bless, they hold themselves up without staking. Many others are a great deal more compact and with flower spikes closer to 20 or 30cm

Anigozanthos are frequently available in garden centres.