The Leopard Plant

A Galaxy of Golden Blossoms in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Ligularia’s Galaxy of Golden Blossoms (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Ligularia dentata, also known as the Leopard Plant, is a pussy cat of a perennial with big cat style. In other words, this kitty is no mouse when she casually spreads her paws across a three foot diameter before settling into the landscape. With imposing paw-shaped foliage (up to a foot wide) that emerges burgundy red and slowly matures to chocolate brown, this plant is not for the faint of heart. While its glossy bronze foliage curled up in the garden may make you want to purr, when the golden galaxy of daisies erupt in late summer, you will absolutely roar with pleasure.

Ligularia's brilliant golden flowers in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Ligularia’s brilliant golden flowers (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

There are a few cultivars that possess the cat class capable of becoming garden stunners, Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’, and my personal favorite, Ligularia dentata ‘Britt Marie Crawford’, of which both offer luscious foliage and a striking flower display. However, Miss Britt’s foliage is just a bit bolder and her blossoms are slightly more outrageous, possibly because unlike some of the other Ligularia siblings, she can handle a good dose of sun (morning preferably).  In fact, I think that’s what makes her leaves maintain their rich mocha hue and the blossoms burst with color. Just make sure the soil is kept moist during the hot spells (mulch and water if necessary) or the leaves will wilt terribly.

Ligularia's form stands out in the border in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Ligularia’s form stands out in the border (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Native to the woodlands of China and Japan, the Ligularia dentata cultivar called ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ was actually discovered in Scotland (by none other than Mrs. Britt-Marie Crawford) growing alongside a clump of ‘Othello.’ Upon her death, Britt-Marie’s husband, James, decided to honor her by naming the cultivar after her and introducing it to commerce. (Thank you, James!)

Ligularia's bold foliage in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Ligularia’s bold foliage (photo by: Kathy Diemer)

Leopard Plant is a long lived, easy to grow perennial in a part shade garden with rich, slightly moist soil (a must) in zones 4-8. It grows gradually to about three feet wide and two feet tall, and the brilliant flowers come up about a foot higher from late July to September. All in all, this a plant worth meowing about~


  1. I’ve never seen these, I think they would look great in my garden”!

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