Where the trivial nickname of this plant rarity comes from can be guessed at a glance at the interesting flowers. In terms of shape, these are reminiscent of the paws of a kangaroo. It is fitting that the original home of the Anigozanthos is in southwest Australia. Kangaroo paws are one of the variety of perennials that is definitely worth a second look. Like many other exotic plants, the kangaroo flower has a few special features in terms of care and location. The “Australian Iris” cannot cope with domestic winters and prefers a warm room.


  • Order: Commelina-like
  • Habit: persistent herbaceous; growing upright
  • Leaves: smooth; Rosette-like growth above the ground
  • Height: 40 to 60 cm
  • Spread: 35 to 65 cm
  • Blossom: tubular flowers with an overgrown crown; Color varies between yellow, red and orange.
  • Flowering period: May to July
  • Other names: Kangaroo Paw, kangaroo paw, kangaroo flower, Australian iris

Location and substrate

Due to their origin, the location requirements of the tropical beauties can be guessed: The place should be sunny and warm. Light partial shade is ideal and promotes flower formation. You should avoid locations that are too shady.

  • A place on the east or west window sill optimally fulfills the requirements
  • Protect enough from drafts
  • Avoid ambient temperatures below 8 ° C

In the warm summer months, the kangaroo’s paw likes to let a mild breeze brush the leaves. As soon as the outdoor temperature rises permanently above 10 ° C , you can relocate the exotic beauty to the bright balcony or terrace. With rainy and low light summers, the plant is only partly deal. Here it is advisable to move the plant into the house and to meet the light requirements of the Australian perennial with artificial plant spotlights .

The substrate of the kangaroo flower should be loose, permeable and free of lime. Too high a lime content in the soil is deposited in the plant and prevents the absorption of nutrients and water. The plant slowly dies. Play it safe and do not use a substrate from the garden. Instead, a mixture of conventional potting soil with small amounts of sand has proven its worth. Also peat or azaleas substrate is suitable for cultivation.

Watering and fertilizing

Normally, based on the origin of Anigozanthos, one could assume that the plants can cope with a prolonged dry spell. However, if you want to cultivate the kangaroo paw successfully, you should pay little attention to this rumor. The Australian plant is sensitive to water shortages during the main growing season . For this reason, it is advisable to water the plant regularly.

  • Let the top layer of substrate dry off
  • Do not pour over leaves and flowers
  • No hard water use
  • Water moderately in winter

Standing moisture can be dangerous for potted plants. The kangaroo flowers are no exception. In order to prevent an infestation with hose fungi, which cause the notorious root rot , a drain should be created at the bottom of the vessel. Robust and non-rotting materials, such as small pottery shards and lava chippings , are suitable for this. Alternatively, if you don’t have them at hand, you can use small pebbles . The drainage layer should be about 3 cm high . This ensures that excess irrigation water can drain off quickly and that the kangaroo’s paw does not get “wet feet”.

Tip : Rainwater from the bin is ideal for watering sensitive plants.

Nutrients are important for the growth and development of exotic plants. A lime-free liquid or long-term fertilizer supplies the plant with the nutrients. Fertilize according to the package insert. Too high a concentration of minerals can damage the kangaroo flowers. From the end of August the plant slowly prepares for winter. At this time, stop fertilizing so as not to stimulate the exotic plant to develop unnecessary shoots.


The vegetative propagation via root pieces is difficult and involves considerable effort in the Anigozanthos. Older plants are carefully divided with a sharp knife . Due to the small root stock, it is difficult to remove several pieces at once. In order not to unnecessarily weaken the plants, you should only extract a few pieces from the kangaroo flower. The division takes place in the main growing season, before the plant prepares for the cold season. Special treatment of the rhizome pieces is not necessary. Put the plant parts in a suitable substrate as usual and keep it evenly moist. The shoots develop roots within 2 to 4 weeks.

Kangaroo paws can also be reproduced quickly and easily using seeds . The problem is that the seeds of the plants are a rarity in home garden centers. If you want to reproduce the “Australian Irises” by sowing, you should get the seeds from your own plants. Do not cut off the withered flowers, but let them mature into seeds. Old seeds germinate poorly. Sow the seeds of the kangaroo flower quickly.

  • Choose a flat growing container
  • The location should be warm and bright his
  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Sow the seeds in the poor substrate
  • Moisten the soil with a water sprayer
  • Avoid waterlogging
  • The substrate must not dry out

Kangaroo paws belong to the light germs. Do not cover the seeds with soil, this will inhibit germination. During the day the temperature should be between 18 ° to 22 ° C , at night it can drop to 13 ° C. Under these conditions, the first shoot tips show up after about 21 to 28 days. As soon as the young seedlings have developed at least two pairs of leaves, they can be pricked out and transferred to separate pots.


The exotic species from Australia are unsuitable for permanent cultivation in ornamental beds. After the ice saints, you can relocate the plants in the bucket outdoors. Choose a sufficiently large container that offers enough space for the roots of the plant. Repotting is necessary approximately every 2 to 3 years. As an alternative to a larger flower pot, you can also rejuvenate and multiply the plant by dividing the roots. The old substrate is replaced by humus-rich, fresh soil.

Tip : The kangaroo flower can be stimulated to bloom with a simple trick: expose the plant to an ambient temperature of 10 ° – 14 ° C for about 5 weeks.

To cut

Kangaroo flowers can reach a height of up to 60 cm , their width should not be underestimated with a maximum of 65 cm. Despite these dimensions, it is not necessary to shape and prune the perennially herbaceous plants. Unless you want to harvest seeds, you should remove the withered inflorescences in good time . The same principle applies to old and dead shoots. These are removed close to the ground with sharp scissors. Some species of Anigozanthos have a colored milky sap . For your own safety, wear gardening or work gloves and then thoroughly clean the tools you are using.


All varieties of the Kangaroo Paw are not winter hardy. If the outdoor temperatures drop permanently below 10 ° C, the plants should move to a frost-proof area.

  • Active radiators should not be in the immediate vicinity.
  • The plant prefers a bright location .
  • Temperatures between 10 ° – 14 ° C are ideal.
  • The substrate must not dry out completely.
  • Stop fertilizing completely.

The water supply should be increased again from the end of February. Before the kangaroo flower moves into its traditional place on the terrace or balcony, it must first be slowly accustomed to the sunlight. In this way you will prevent the ornamental plant from getting burns on the leaves.

Diseases and pests

Domestic pests do not stop at exotic species. Aphids and spider mites are particularly common on Anigozanthos. Older plants can cope with an infestation of cell sap sucking insects. Young plants or plants that have been weakened due to care errors are severely affected. Take effective countermeasures to get rid of the harmful insects. While aphids can usually be recognized by their sticky excretions, in spider mites it is the silvery shimmering webs.

  • Spider mites do not tolerate high humidity.
  • Regular watering with a diluted stock of nettles has proven itself.
  • Wipe heavily infected shoots regularly with a damp cloth.
  • Set up glue traps against aphids.

An effective and natural method of control is exposing animal predators. Ladybug larvae, parasitic wasps, predatory mites and lacewing larvae can be ordered in special online shops, for example. In near-natural gardens, however, the beneficial insects settle automatically and effectively help you to get rid of the pests.


Kangaroo flowers are fascinating houseplants. A little effort is necessary to successfully cultivate the Australian plants. Experience in cultivating exotic species is helpful, but beginners who have a green thumb will also get along with the warmth-loving perennial.

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