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How to Care for a Kangaroo Plant

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How to Care for a Kangaroo Plant

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Overview

Kangaroo plant, also known as kangaroo paw, is a perennial plant valued for its exotic flowers, evergreen foliage and ease of care. The plant blooms during late spring and summer, producing flowers in shades of yellow, red, purple, black and green. Kangaroo plant typically forms 2 to 4 flowers the first year of growth and up to 20 flowers the second year of growth. Native to Australia, kangaroo plant thrives outdoors in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9 and 10 in the United States. Gardeners in cooler zones typically grow the plant in containers and move them indoors when temperatures drop.

Step 1

Plant kangaroo plant during spring in a location that receives six to eight hours of full sunlight each day and contains sandy, well-drained, acidic soil. Space kangaroo plants at least 18 to 20 inches apart to allow plenty of room for mature growth.

Step 2

Spread a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch over the soil surrounding kangaroo plant to lower soil temperature, deter weeds and increase moisture retention. Allow about 3 inches between the mulch and the crown of the plant to reduce the risk of rot.

Step 3

Water once every week during spring and summer to prevent the soil from drying out completely. Decrease the frequency of watering to once every 10 days during fall, and once every two weeks during winter, when plant growth slows.

Step 4

Feed kangaroo plant once per month during spring and summer using a low-phosphorous 20-10-20 NPK fertilizer. Water lightly prior to fertilizing to prevent root burn. Apply at half the dosage recommended by the manufacturer for the best results.

Step 5

Keep the plant at a constant temperature of 40 to 80 degrees F to avoid damage. In hardiness zones 3 to 8, plant kangaroo plant in a container and keep it outdoors as long as the temperature stays within the recommended range. Bring it indoors anytime temperatures exceed 80 degrees F or drops below 40 degrees F.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Maryland Cooperative Extension: Green Industry News: Production / Postproduction Factors for Anigozanthos
  • Waldecks Care Sheets: Kangaroo Paws
  • "Green Flowers"; Alison Hoblyn, Marie O'Hara; 2009

Who Can Help

  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
Keywords: kangaroo plant, kangaroo paw, paw plant

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.