Monday, August 19, 2013

How to care for and prune Kangaroo Paw Plants

Its approaching the end of winter in Sydney and I have just planted an array of beautiful Australian native plants, the Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos) which should flower into spring and summer. They are widely available in nurseries across Sydney (I purchased mine from Flower Power) and they have a velvety texture and come in the most beautiful, strong and vibrant colours. There are many new hybrid plants available with colour combinations of red and yellow, black and red, red and green and the like. They look amazing and instantly brighten up any garden area and look particularly good as garden borders. They are considered a perennial plant as they last for more than two growing seasons.

How to care for Kangaroo Paws
Kangaroo Paws are relatively easy to grow and care for even if you don't have a green thumb. Kangaroo Paws grow best in well-drained soils in a sunny position. 

Well-drained soil is a term you often read or hear about but what does it mean? 

Gardeners refer to well drained soil as soil garden that is loose, not hard and compact or full of clay so that it allows water to drain out well so the roots of a plant are not constantly sitting in water (and drown).  

The roots of plants do not grow solely in the actual soil, plants need oxygen found in and around the soil. So to ensure your plants get enough oxygen and the soil is well-drained, mix regularly with mulch, compost, dry leaves, organic matter and manure. 

Water the Kangaroo Paw only moderately in the warmer months and keep them relatively dry in winter. These plants don't like humidity.

You can use a general liquid fertiliser about once every month or two.

How to prune Kangaroo Paws
This is the hard part, well not really, I'd describe it more as heart-breaking. To prune Kangaroo Paws you need to cut the stem quite close to the ground. It is good to cut off the dull bits and prune heavily at the end of the flowering season to ensure beautiful flowering in subsequent seasons. When pruning, leave the newer green shoots or around one third of the plant if you can.

You can see the Kangaroo Paw plant at the front in this picture
needs pruning as the flowers at the top look dull and spent
Prune the Kangaroo Paw plant close to the base
You can see the short new shoots on the Kangaroo
Paw plant after pruning
I will be planing a funeral for these guys (joking)
On a better note - happy gardening!

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