Kangaroo paws are herbaceous perennials with strap-like leaves, a clumping growth habit and varying in size from 6-24 in. tall. Unique flowers are tubular in shape, fuzzy and can occur on branched or unbranched stems that grow several feet above foliage. Flower colors range from red, pink, green, yellow and orange, and make striking displays from mid spring to early summer. Flowers produce nectar for birds.
Flowers often last 1-2 months, making them a popular choice for borders, perennial gardens and in containers. For best performance, kangaroo paws need light and fast draining soils along with regular moisture during spring to sustain a robust flowering cycle. Low moisture is best during summer. Foliage character can begin to decline by late fall and most varieties go into a period of dormancy during winter when old foliage loses value; new growth begins by early spring. They generally perform best over 2-3 years after planting and then may require replacing.
Horticultural interest in kangaroo paws has led to the introduction of many cultivars for use in California landscapes and gardens. Availability varies from nursery to nursery; popular cultivars include: A. ‘Big Red’ is a tall cultivar with deep red flowers, A. ‘Harmony’ is a tall cultivar with yellow flowers and red stems, A. ‘Bush Pearl’, is a low growing form to 15 in. tall and produces bright pink flowers.