Care of Kangaroo Paws on the Mornington Peninsula

kangaroo-paw
With their distinctive flowers and diversity of colour kangaroo paws are among the most rewarding Australian plants.  They grow from an underground rhizome and produce beautiful flowers on long stems mainly during spring and summer. Growing naturally only in the south west of Western Australia, similar conditions to that of the Mornington Peninsula, they’re now widely available to all gardeners .
If you are looking for tall but very tough low maintenance ‘flavidus hybrids’ perform year after year.  Smaller varieties are ‘Bush Inferno” and ‘Bush Gold’ These varieties are suitable for pots and borders but require more attention.
To get the most out of them they need to be growing in full sun with well drained soil. Pruning is the key to getting the most out of your plants You’ll be surprised to know that a heavy Prune to ground level is essential  because all of the growth points are  underground. Cutting back also helps control diseases on the leaves.  The ink spot attacks the leaves can be caused by fungal infections but also snails and frost damage. Cutting the leaves back you get beautiful lush new growth.
This time of the year after you have cut them back a good handful of slow release fertilizer  just sprinkled around the base is ideal.  Reapply in spring when they’re in the middle of their growth flush. When the clumps get really big you can divide the plant .  Just sink the spade into the clumps and divide into pieces.  This can be done Summer into autumn and winter.
They are a fabulous bird-attracting plant and an icon of the native garden.