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What else would you call them? They're kangaroo paws.

What else would you call them?

They're kangaroo paws. They're Australia's latest plant gift to the Western U.S.A.

Nonstop flower factories, the new hybrid kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos) are rarely out of bloom. Excellent cut flowers, these evergreen perennials are splendid container or garden plants. They're more compact and have brighter flower colors than the common wild species, and they're more resistant to ink disease--a fungus that can spoil foliage or kill plants. Australian nurserymen bred them for cut flower production and garden use. One parent (A. flavidus, shown at right) contributed vigor and disease resistance; it bears flowers ranging from yellow to rusty red. A number of other species provided smaller size and richer colors. The hybrids in the pictures on these pages all belong to the strain called Southern Aurora. Look for plants in nurseries in 5- to 6-inch pots ($10 to $15 each). Another compact strain, Bush Gems, includes `Dwarf Delight' (red), `Emerald Baby' (red and green), `Magic' (yellow), and `Ranger' (reddish). Taller hybrids are `Pink Joey' (pink, to 5 feet), `Red Cross' (burgundy, to 5 feet), and `Regal Claw' (orange, 5 to 8 feet); these taller ones don't do well for long in containers. Plants do best outdoors, thriving in the ground where frosts are light. They need full sun, light feeding, average water, and good drainage; soil should dry at surface between irrigations. In colder areas, grow kangaroo paws as indoor-outdoor plants. Divide plants every few years. While most kangaroo paws bloom spring and summer, these 1 1/2- to 2-foot hybrids produce blossoms year-round. Flowers hold their color from four to eight weeks, then slowly fade. New flower stems form as older ones decline. (Color fades more rapidly indoors.)

PHOTO : Three new hybrids bloom in 10-inch pots. Orange-blossomed kangaroo paw (at left) is

PHOTO : planted singly; yellow and red ones grow two to a pot. These dwarf hybrids bloom most

PHOTO : heavily in spring and summer but produce flowers intermittently all year.

PHOTO : Furry-coated claw-like flower segments show uncanny resemblance to their namesakes

PHOTO : Compact hybrid grows just 2 feet tall and is especially suited to life in a container

PHOTO : Tall parent (Anigozanthos flavidus) can reach 6 to 8 feet; it's best in garden beds
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Apr 1, 1990
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