The Anigozanthos, also known as kangaroo legs, is a rhizomatous perennial plant of Australian origin. It produces large clumps of green or gray-green, thin, ribbon-shaped, arched leaves. During spring and summer between the leaves there are thin dark, branched stems, usually red in color, covered with a thin down, high in some species up to 100-150 cm; at the apex of the stems there are numerous buds, gathered in racemes. The buds of Anigozanthos they are very showy, have a tubular, elongated shape and bear a thick red, orange, yellow, green or purple hair. At the apex of the buds there are small corollas with six petals, usually light in color. The conformation of the flowers resembles the feet of an animal, from this particularity derives the common name of the plant; the Anigozanthos they are used as a background in flower beds, or even as a border, especially compact cultivars, which do not exceed 40-60 cm in height; these flowers are also used as cut flowers.
The kangaroo legs are placed in a sunny place, or partially shady; the anigozanthos do not fear the cold and can withstand some periods of intense frost, in some cases during the winter they lose the aerial part and develop with the arrival of spring. Some species can be ruined by intense and prolonged frosts, in these cases they are cultivated in pots and are placed in a cold greenhouse during the winter months. Anigozanthos are also often grown as houseplants, especially low-vegetation cultivars.
These rhizomatous plants have the ability to store in the roots aqueous sap, to be used in case of lack of watering; for this reason they endure even long periods of drought without problems. Plant development and flowering stops during dry periods, therefore it is advisable to water the plant regularly, from March to September, stopping the watering during the cold months. Avoid over-irrigation and water stagnation.
The kangaroo paws prefer soft and sandy soils, very well drained, not particularly fertile. Plants grown in pots should be repotted about every 2-3 years. During the spring season it is advisable to intervene on the plants with fertilizer mixed with water at least once a month; at the time of planting the new plants it is instead necessary to use mature fertilizer or slow release fertilizer to facilitate plant growth.
The multiplication takes place by seed, in spring, after the last frosts; in autumn it is possible to divide the heads of leaves, maintaining some well-developed roots for each portion practiced.
Kangaroo paws - Anigozanthos: Pests and diseases
As for the diseases and parasites that could affect the plant, we remind that excessive humidity causes the formation of fungal diseases, while the buds of the kangaroo paws are often affected by aphids. When this happens, it is important to take immediate action with specific pesticide products.