Leonotis leonurus (Lion’s Tail) is a semi-evergreen, erect shrub prized for its dazzling orange flowers, reminiscent of Lion's tails. Blooming from late spring through fall, the tubular two-lipped fuzzy flowers, 2 in. long (5 cm), of this South African native appear in tiered whorls around the top half of the long upright stems. The foliage of lance-shaped, dark green leaves, to 6 in. long (15 cm), is aromatic when bruised. Lion's Ear is perennial in areas with mild climates and works well as an annual in regions with cold winter temperatures. It can survive temperatures as low as 20ºF (-6ºC) and will often resprout with new growth from hardened wood if it freezes back in the winter. A striking plant if kept well groomed, Lion’s Tail looks outstanding when combined with lavender or fall blooming salvias.
- Grows up to 4-6 ft. tall and wide (120-180 cm).
- Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun or light shade. This plant is not fussy about soils as long as they are well-drained and watered regularly. Drought tolerant but performs best with regular irrigation. In cold location, plants should be mulched to protect the wood crown.
- Deer resistant but attracts birds, butterflies and hummingbirds.
- Great for Mediterranean gardens, coastal gardens, cottage gardens or containers. May be used as a screening plant. The flowers are good in floral arrangements
- Virtually disease free and pest free. Watch for spider mites, whiteflies and grey moulds when grown under glass.
- Responds well to pruning, remaining more dense and compact and should be pruned yearly after flowering.
- Propagate by seed or greenwood cuttings in late spring or summer. If grown as an annual, seed should be started indoors in winter or sown in the garden before the last frost date for flowering in fall. If grown as a tender perennial, seed can be sown in containers which are moved outside after last frost date.
- Native to South Africa