In their native homeland of Australia, these K-Paws appear most prolifically from October to December, however, here in California the season runs from January to September. The word Anigozanthos is derived from two Greek words meaning “an open flower”.
Watering requirements are somewhat different among different varieties of kangaroo paw plants. While some varieties are relatively drought-tolerant, none will tolerate extremely dry soil. Kangaroo paw does well with regular watering’s while the plant is blooming. The top of the soil should dry slightly in between watering’s. Switching to light watering to keep the soil slightly moist when the plant stops blooming and enters dormancy is what will work best. Water in the morning so the leaves have the remainder of the day to dry before evening and watering the soil at the base of the plant keeps the foliage dry.
Kangaroo paw is not a “big eater” but will do well with an application of a low-phosphorus fertilizer at the beginning of the growing season. We recommend a fertilizer with a ratio such as 19-6-20. Kangaroo paw is sensitive to high levels of phosphorus. A liquid fertilizer used while watering works well. Applying fertilizer to dry soil can sometimes scorch the roots. Apply fertilizer carefully, with the fertilizer mixed according to label recommendations. At planting time, an application of time-released fertilizer can be used.
Overall care and maintenance
Making sure to cut the stems during the blooming season helps to produce prolific and vigorous blooming. When the plants enter their dormant season, cutting the entire plant down to about 4” in late winter removes old, dead foliage and makes room for the new growth in spring. Kangaroo paw tends to slow down over time, so dividing the plants every 3 years or so helps to keep the Kangaroo Paw healthy and happy.
Slugs and snails are the biggest concern for the kangaroo paw plant. Removing the dead leaves and debris from your plants eliminates places for the snails and slugs to hide. The snail bait, in liquid or pellet form, is available in standard and non-toxic varieties. Kangaroo paw plants are also susceptible to infestation by aphids, tiny insects that gather in great numbers on the undersides of the leaves. A strong stream of water is often enough to dislodge the pests. If that doesn’t work, an insecticidal soap or oil spray should get rid of the pests. Avoid chemical pesticides, which also kill beneficial bugs such as lacewings and ladybugs.
Diseases are not typically a problem with the Kangaroo Paw, but wet and humid conditions without drying out can create one. These plants require full sun and proper watering to avoid these potential conditions. Keep the Kangaroo Paw from being crowded by other plants. This allows for proper air circulation.