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Apparently a lot of people out there are indeed growing Kangaroo Paws because the number 1 search engine term leading traffic to this blog at the moment is ‘pruning Kangaroo Paws’. Good to see so many people like my favourite Australian native.
As part of my native plant of the month series, I recently featured 4 varieties of the Kangaroo Paw, click through to each of these to learn more about some common kangaroo paw varieties:
Red & Green Kangaroo Paw
Orange Gem Kangaroo Paw
Green Machine Kangaroo Paw
Yellow Gem Kangaroo Paw
Kangaroo Paws, or plants of the genus Anigozanthos, are an absolute delight to grow in your garden but to get the absolute best from them they must be pruned. Kangaroo Paws mostly flower during Spring and Summer, through some varieties start early in late winter. They grow great big, long stems and the flowers emerge at the top.
Pruning when in flower
There are a few good times that you can prune Kangaroo paws and the first is during flowering. My first tip in pruning Kangaroo Paws is to make sure you cut the flower stems right off as soon as the flowers are starting to look less appealing. This pruning before the flowers have died entirely encourages the plant to produce new stems and flower again, giving you a second or sometimes if you are lucky even a third showing during a flowering season. Clip the stems off at the base of the plant and as with most pruning try and cut at a 45 degree angle. This reduces the risk of disease and pests causing trouble. Doing this for every flower stem will both increase the health of the plant and also give you great flowers to boast about.
Pruning at the end of the flowering season
When your Kangaroo Paw has finished flowering (usually mid to late summer or early autumn) it is a very good idea to give it a solid prune. The good thing about Kangaroo Paws is that most of what is important for it’s growth is under the ground. The biggest tip for the post-flower pruning is to cut any growth with any ‘browness’ right out. Don’t just cut the tip off, take the whole lot off right down to the base.
I once read somewhere of a gardener who likes to use a lawn mower to ‘prune’ his Kangaroo Paws. Though I do not myself advocate this practice…it does likely work! I like to be a little more tender and delicate in my pruning, but the principle still stands, pruning Kangaroo Paws hard at the end of their flowering season will bring best results in subsequent seasons. Just try to leave the very new/very green shoots or around 1/3rd of the plant where possible.
So there you have it. Kangaroo Paws are a pleasure to grow and they are pretty much brown thumb proof. Pruning Kangaroo Paws is not terribly difficult because you really would struggle to be too harsh in pruning them. Good luck and I hope this helps!
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