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Kangaroo paw for arrangements.

From the eucalyptus forests of Western Australia comes an unusual evergreen perennial called kangarro paw. You may have noticed the exotic, earth-toned flowers in florists' arrangements; in mild-winter climates of the west, you can grow your own.

Anigozanthos flavidus (shown above) is the easiest species to grow from seed, root divisions, or nursery plants. Hardy to about 22[deg.], it seems to tolerate nearly any garden condition--even wet, poorly drained soil. Dark green, iris-like foliage grows in clumps that eventually spread to 3 feet or more across. Flower colors range from smoky pink, yellow, orange, and rusty red to lime green.

Red- and gree-flowered A. manglesii, about 3 feet tall, is fussier. Tender to frost, it needs sandy, well-drained soil. Lesser-known varieties include A. humilis (1 foot high; yellow-orange flowers), A. pulcherrimus (golden paw), A. rufus (burgundy flowers), and A. viridis (onionlike foliage, brilliant agreen flowers).

Give all kinds of kangaroo paw a sunny exposure. Protect from snails. To keep flowers coming from late spring (or winter, in the desert) through summer, trim stalks to the ground as soon as they fade.

Because plants are susceptible to ink spot, an incurable disease that blackens the foliage, you may need to replace them every two or three years.
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Date:Nov 1, 1985
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