I find Eremophila splendens to be a spectacular plant when in flower. The bright red flowers glow against the foliage which is quite hairy similar to some Eremophila glabra forms. This plant needs very good drainage. It is either a sprawling low plant or can be quite upright.
Eremophila splendens is restricted to Shark Bay about midway along the Western coast of Western Australia. It grows on the heathlands with Thryptomene and Melaleuca.
Last winter I lost some small plants to frost but I want to try again in a more sheltered location where the canopy of mallees may protect them. This is a plant that needs to be pruned aftyer flowering to encourage new and dense growth. Mature plants get very leggy and have sparse foliage without the pruning.
I had a comment on the Blog entry on Anigozanthos flavidus. Suzanne is in Canada and had bought a Kangaroo Paw with no information on the label other than Anigozanthos Kangaroo Paw. She wanted cultivation information. I replied to her by email but could only give general information. See the above link. It is so difficult to give useful information when one does not know the country’s climate or the garden conditions. I have had to make a number of assumptions.
Is there anything else I could have said? Is there other information I should have given? Could I assume a particular cultivar is available overseas?
Anyway, not having the facilities to put photos on the blog yet, I sent Suzanne a link to the Australian National Botanic Gardens where she will see photos of the flowers and form of the plant.
I should have done this with my previous posts and will do a separate entry to catch up the backlog.
This is a very pretty Kangaroo Paw. It is much shorter than the flavidus (up to 30 cm or 12 inches with the flower spike), is a combination of yellow, orange and red in the flower. The flower stalk stands just above the foliage.
This is also a very hardy plant. According to a comment I read, it grows in soils with a high lime content as a preference! In fact in builder’s rubble. At last a plant that will not cringe when I dig the hole in my limestone rubble mounds. It is apparently difficult to maintain in the garden if the high pH conditions do not exist. Amazing little plant.
I remember the first time I saw this growing on the side of the road in Western Australia. Having only seen pictures in books, it was a great thing to see masses of the plant in the ‘flesh’.
This one does not seem to be as frost hardy as the Anigozanthos flavidus. As we are having slight frosts now it will be test of the plant’s hardiness. They all need good drainage which can be achieved by raising the planting spot by about 8cm (4 inches) as a minimum, or adding gypsum to the soil to break up any clay.
I messed up the cutting when I tried to divide an Anigozanthos flavidus red flowered form. At least I hope it is red as the label states. The trouble is that if the plant is seed grown it could be green as this seems to be the dominant colour in this species.
Anyway I wanted to divide it so that I had extra plants should the main one meet with an accident, like being drowned or forgotten! The bits that broke off may have enough tuber attached to grow on.
Anigozanthos flavidus is the hardiest of the Kangaroo Paws, and has the tallest flower spikes, which seem to flower for a long time. Most of the ‘paws’ prefer well drained positions but this one is quite forgiving as it is hardy in most soils and positions. Seed germinates readily, especially if fresh. Divide during the Autumn before new leaves begin to grow. A heavy sharp knife is necessary with this species as it has a large tuber.
Some Paper Daisies (Everlasting Daisies) have begun to germinate. These are Rhodanthe chlorocephala, sub species rosea. It is always an exciting event when I see the first green shoots that signal germinating seeds.
I also noticed the first shoots of Anigozanthos humilis (Cat’s Paw), one of the Kangaroo Paw family. I can’t let myself get excited yet. Germinating is one thing. Getting them to grow on is another matter. That is when you will hear the cheering.
A friend’s mum had a wonderful yellow form of Anigozanthos flavidus from which I collected seed. That is always a reliable plant to propagate, and quite hardy in this area. The flower stalks are often over two metres tall. They look good planted in groups. They should be showing in the seed pots soon.
My great desire at the moment is to be able to germinate Anigozanthos rufus (Red Kangaroo Paw). I fell in love with this plant when I saw it growing on the side of the road near Esperence in Western Australia.
These are plants that are popular at the Australian Plants Society Plant Sale in Adelaide. The next sale is this Saturday and Sunday 29th and 30th April 2006. There is another sale at Geranium the following Sunday, 7th May.