Plant Description

Leonotis leonurus

Leonotis leonurus

I have known this plant almost all my life, because it grew in my family's garden for many years, my mother being particularly fond of its vibrant-coloured blooms. A South African plant (ht 1.8 m), it flourishes in our climate. Thin, pungent-smelling leaves provide the backdrop to spires of velvety, orange flower clusters in late summer and autumn. Canna 'Tropicanna', with its orange-marked foliage is an excellent planting companion for lion's tail.

There is also a white-flowered Leonotis leonurus, which pairs well with white-variegated foliage plants such as Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus' (pictured). Leonotis leonurus can be cut back hard in late winter. It grows best in full sun. It dislikes hard frosts. It needs no special treatment.

Postscript: In the end, I removed my specimens. I just found they took up too much space, were rather floppy, and were unpredictable in flowering. I think I may have had them in too much shade. I still enjoy seeing them in the gardens of my friends.

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Leonotis leonurus
Flowers March and April.
Plant Family: Lamiaceae

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