ligularia_the_rocketLigularias are herbaceous perennials native to central and eastern Asia, and Europe where they grow in cool areas with consistently moist soil and sun to partial shade. They are a member of the aster family, Astereaceae, that includes daisies, goldenrod, and lettuce, and are closely related to Senico (ragworts and groundsels). There are over eighty species in the genus but only a few that are garden worthy. The ornamential ligularias are prized for their huge mass of dark green leathery basal foliage that make a memorable image in any garden. The leaves encircle the stems and are carried on long petioles. They may be round, kidney shaped, or triangular and some are toothed, lobed, deeply cut, or with wavy margins. The small flowers are carried well above the foliage and in spikes, or in domed or flat clusters. Each flower head consists of yellow to orange ray flowers surrounding brown to yellow disc flowers. Plants are attractive to slugs and snail. They may be propagated by division of the fleshy crowns or by fresh seed.

Big Leaf Ligularia (L. dentata)
Ligularia-dentata_As the specific epithet, dentate, suggests the leaves of this native of China are sharply toothed. They are twelve to twenty inches long and kidney-shaped. The orange flower heads are produced in summer to late summer on branched stems in loose, flat, corymbs and are two to five inches across.

Size: 3-4’ H x 2-4 W
Flower Color: Orange
Bloom Time: Summer to late summer
Hardiness: Zones 5-8

Shavalski’s ligularia (L. przewalskii)
ligularia_przewalskiiA native of northern China, this ligularia has palmately lobed, spidery like triangular leaves up to two foot long that are deeply ncised. The yellow flowers one inch wide are carried on blackish stems in slender, loose racemes 1-1 ½ foot long.

Size: 4-6’ H x 2-3’ W
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Summer to late summer
Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Narrow-spiked Ligularia (L. stenocephala)
ligularia_the_rocketThis native of China, Japan, and Taiwan has light green heart-shaped to triangular one foot leaves with toothed margins. The yellow flowers 1-1 ½” wide are carried on long slender purplish stemmed racemes twelve to eighteen inches long. Perhaps best known as the cultivar ‘The Rocket’ that is more compact and has eighteen to twenty four inch racemes of smaller, lemon-colored flower heads.

Size: 3-5’ H x 2-5’ W
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Early summer
Hardiness: Zones 5-8

Leopard Plant (L. tassilaginea)
ligularia_tussilagineaA native of China, Korea, and Japan, this ligularia has long petioles that carry large, round to kidney-shaped evergreen leaves. Loose corymbs of light yellow flower heads up to two inches wide are carried on leafless stems but are often removed by gardeners who grow the plant for the foliage.

Size: 1 ½ ‘-2’ H x 1’ W
Flower Color: Light yellow
Bloom Time: Late summer to fall
Hardiness: Zones 7-10

Ligulara veitchiana

Ligularia_veitchianaWith large, heart-shaped lightly toothed leaves with slightly puckered edges, this native of west China has compact racemes of small bright yellow flower heads.

Size:5-6’ H x 2-3’ W
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Time:
Summer to late summer
Hardiness: Zones 4-10

By Karen