Posted by Aaron Barton on Jun 17th 2021

June 21st, 2021


When planning your garden, it is important to not only keep bloom times in mind, but also know and implore the value of foliage interest in the garden. Ligularia (lig-you-l-AIR-ee-ah), commonly known as leopard plant or ragwort is a member of the Aster family – Asteraceae. Big bonus, ligularia are deer-resistant late, summer bloomers that provide bold foliage interest to help keep your garden looking great all season long.

Native to parts of China, Russia, and Japan, most cultivated Ligularia are varieties of Ligularia dentata, known as the bigleaf Ligularia, boasting large, finely-serrated heart-shaped leaves, growing to three to six feet tall depending on the variety, and encompassing many popular options including ‘Desdemona’ with its beautiful purple petioles, deep green leaves, and purple veining, ‘Midnight Lady,’ with its bold deep bronze-purple leaves, and ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ with its large, glossy deep purple leaves with bright red undersides.

But that’s not all—Ligularia also boast show-stopping late summer blooms, producing large corymbs of daisy-like yellow-orange flowers which rise above the plant in sharp contrast to their foliage in mid to late summer, providing spectacular color in shadier areas of the garden. Ligularia stenocephala, including varieties such as ‘The Rocket’ and ‘Little Rocket’ offer an alternative appearance in the garden, with coarsely toothed, more triangular leaves and smaller flowers on a more compact corymb.

Ligularia prefer to be planted in very moist areas, thriving in woodland gardens, bog gardens, or near rivers and ponds, in areas of part to full shade. Be sure to provide additional irrigation on hotter days and mulch with premium compost to preserve moisture and provide the nutrients needed to keep your Ligularia looking great.

Happy Planting!