Plant of the week – Farfugium japonicum argenteum

A farfugium, these days, no longer a ligularia

I had to do some decoding of the name of this evergreen, clump-forming plant for woodland and shade areas. It used to be known as a ligularia (Ligularia tussilaginea argentea to be precise) but the family were reclassified as farfugiums. Argenteum’s siblings are far easier to build up so are a great deal more common – aureomaculatum which many of you will know as the Leopard ligularia (about which we are bit sniffy – looks as if it has been sprayed with Paraquat, is Mark’s opinion) and cristata (also known as crispatum) which looks a little like a tough oak-leafed lettuce. Argenteum is slow to increase so usually passed by in the nursery trade in favour of those which get a quicker turnaround. But none of the alternatives can light up a dark space quite like the startling white splashes on the often enormous leaves of this plant. The kidney-shaped leaves can reach up to half a metre across.

These plants are classified within the daisies, asteracea, and the flowers are typically nasty yellow things but you can cut them off. Argenteum prefers some shade (the white parts will burn in the sun) and grows in similar conditions to hostas – humus rich with adequate moisture. The beauty is that they keep their leaves all year and are largely impervious to slug and snail attack. The one defect they can suffer from is anthracnose which can result in little shot holes in the leaves. We don’t worry about it but if you want perfect leaves every time, you may need to use a fungicide occasionally.

2 thoughts on “Plant of the week – Farfugium japonicum argenteum

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      We have it here available for sale but we don’t courier plants at all. I am afraid I don’t know if it is available elsewhere. It is not that it is particularly rare but it is not quick to produce so it is one of those plants that nurseries tend to avoid in favour of quicker turnover crops.

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