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Ragwort

Eva Monning Eva Monning

Also known as Summer Ragwort or Leopard plant, Adorns pond edges and shrub beds with beautiful leaves and impressive golden yellow inflorescences. Find out more about its planting and care.

Origin

The Ragwort (Ligularia), also called the Leopard plant or groundsel, is a genus of perennials from the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It includes around 180 species that are mainly native to Japan and China. The genus of Ligularia is closely related to the genus of Senecio, whose species are also referred to as ragwort or groundsel. The Ragwort is an excellent bee pasture.

Appearance and Growth

Ragwort grows expansively clumpy with long-stalked, large leaves and towering inflorescences. Some Ragworts are splendid summer bloomers and can grow up to height of up to 70.86 inches. The flower color of the Ligularia can be anywhere from yellow to orange. The fast-growing Ragwort impresses both with its lush flower clusters and with its strikingly beautiful foliage. The bloomed inflorescences can remain until late winter and will be an eye-catcher in the winter garden once again.

Location and Soil

Ligularia grow best in protected, humid locations in fresh, moist, permeable and loamy soil. Ideally, the pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5. The plants occur naturally on the edges of forests and river banks, so they are ideal for sunny and partially shaded locations. In contrast, Ragwort does not like summer drought and sandy soils. If the location is not nutrient-rich enough or too dry, the plants will not reach their full height.

Candle Ragwort (Ligularia przewalskii)

With a border of other flowering perennials, the yellow flowers of the Candle Ragwort look particularly impressive

Planting

Ragworts are sown in spring or fall. Potted plants must be watered extensively before and after planting. Due to its expansive growth, you should keep a distance of about 23.62 inches between the individual plants when planting Ligularia so that the foliage can unfold. Despite its towering inflorescences, the ragwort is usually very stable, provided it is not exposed to storms or heavy rain.

Care Tips

The Ragwort takes a few years to develop its full splendor, so it should not be replanted from its initial location. Ragwort hardly needs any care, when planted in the right location and can then stay in the same place for many years. Good water supply must be ensured in sunnier locations - the large, thin leaves wither very quickly in dry conditions! The nutrient-loving shrubs should be provided with compost in the spring so that they grow lush. The leaves and inflorescences are not pruned until late winter. Cross herbs are long-lasting shrubs and do not age - so they do not have to be rejuvenated regularly by dividing them.

Overwintering or Winter Protection

The varieties of ragwort that are naturalized by us are extremely hardy down to -20.2 degrees Fahrenheit and do not need any protection.

Where to plant

Ragwort location garden pond

The Ragwort is particularly comfortable at the edge of a garden pond

Due to its origin, the ragwort is well suited for gardens designed in Asia, but the glowing flower heads also cut a fine figure in the cottage garden. Ligularia are suitable for the edges of ponds and streams or embankments. The plant is also suitable for partially shaded flower beds in front of trees. Suitable partners in the flower bed are, for example, the Trumpetweed (Eupatorium fistulosum), various silvergrass varieties (Miscanthus), red astilbe or Meadowsweet (Filipendula).

Important Species and Varieties

The Leopard plant (Ligularia dentata), also called Leopard plant 'Desdemona' or golden ray, has broad, rounded, serrated leaves and umbel-like inflorescences with golden-yellow ray florets that are typical of the Daisy family. The brown-red colored leaves form a nice contrast. The plants reach heights of 31.49 to 59.05 inches, depending on the variety, and bloom from July to September. Popular varieties are ‘Desdemona and Othello. The youngest of the group is Britt-Marie Crawford with dark leaves and bright orange-yellow flower heads, which grows around 31.49 inches high and is suitable for covered locations.

Purple-leaved Ragwort Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’
The purple-leaved Ragwort Ligularia dentata ‘Desdemona’ has flowers typically found in the daisy family

The leaves of the Shavalski's ligularia (Ligularia przewalskii) are palmately lobed and the towering inflorescences are panicle-like and golden yellow. They adorn the plants from July to September. The Shavalski's ligularia grows up to 70.866 inches high. Even after flowering, the seed heads of the plants remain attractive and should only be cut off in late winter. The most popular variety is The Rocket’.

The most popular varieties of the narrow-spiked ligularia (Ligularia stenocephala) are the 70.866 inch high hybrids Weihenstephan and Zepter. The narrow-spiked ligularia develop impressive bulbs on tall, dark purple stems in a short time, which bloom in July and August. In groups of up to ten plants, narrow-spiked ligularia adorn pond edges and perennial beds. Its triangular to heart-shaped toothed, green leaves also make a pretty ground cover.

Propagation

The Ragwort can be propagated from the rhizome segments in spring. Ligularia can also be sown in spring or fall, which the plant will be happy to do itself if you do not remove the blooms.

Diseases and Pests

Ragworts are robust and rarely attacked by pests. The shrubs are very popular with snails and should therefore be protected with slug pellets when they sprout, especially in spring. Aphids can also appear but are not a major problem.

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