Spotted the cutest, fuzziest little things during a visit to the garden center today. The pastel “paws” of the kangaroo paw (Anigozanthos) plant caught my eye, and these unusual plants are sure to melt the hardest of winter-weary hearts.

But before you adopt this Australian native, it would be good to know a bit about its culture. Being from Down Under, you’d expect its growing conditions to be a bit specific, and they are. Looks like kangaroo paw, a short-lived perennial, does not tolerate temperatures below 40 degrees, and likes it dry too, with fungus a major threat. Full sun is essential as well.

For many areas this means kangaroo paw might be better suited to life as a houseplant rather than a part of the garden, unless of course you are gardening in Southern California or other arid regions. One part sand to two parts potting soil constitute the recommended growing medium with frequent applications of compost to supply nutrients. In winter, limit irrigation.

Flower colors are many, including rich, deep red, and kangaroo paws make excellent cut flowers or to add to arrangements. For more information on kangaroo paw, visit the Australian National Botanic Gardens web site: http://www.anbg.gov.au/anigozanthos/.

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