Kangaroo Paw Question

blue_canAugust 7, 2009

I have to say before posting this that I don't do much gardening and don't know too much about planting things.

That said I recently bought a Kangaroo Paw plant for my garden which I removed from the pot and planted in the garden. It has been 2 weeks since I bought it and it looks in reasonable shape although a few days after planting I noticed that nearly all of the leaf tips had turned black.

I visited Home Depot today where I had bought the plant and looked at the Kangaroo paws there and all of them had blackened leaf tips.

Is this due to lack of water or the Ink Disease I have read about. Should I do anything about it or leave it alone.

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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Sounds like it has ink spot disease. This tends to be a problem if the plant gets overhead spray irrigation and is not in a full sun location with good air circulation. It will tend to just get worse if you can't move it to full sun with constant good air circulation. Some of the larger growing Anigozanthus flavidus hybrids that can have blooms up to 6/7' tall are more resistant, the dwarf forms not so much.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 11:18AM
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I could be wrong, but I thought ink disease tended to be splotchy patches randomly distributed all over the leaves, not just tip blackening?

Also Blue Can, they grow from fleshy roots (rhizomes), so I've seen kangaroo paws that looked awful cut all the way to the ground and come back looking great.

Here is a link that might be useful: San Marcos Growers - Kangaroo Paws

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 5:36PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Mine always have black leaf tips.
I thought that was how they all were. :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 6:29PM
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Thanks for the replies. It's good to know others also have plants with black leaf tipes :-)

My plant was also grown by some outfit in San Marcos (I'm in the San Diego area) although I don't think it was the grower mentioned in the link.

I was going to cut off the leaf tips but maybe I will leave it as it is for now.

btw any tips on the best amount of water they should be given for each day. I'm just installing a mini irrigation system for for these plants and want to set the timer and the correct number of button drippers to get the correct total number of gallons/day.

I currently have some mini sprinklers but I will probably take them out for 2 reasons - the advice I've read for these plants say not to have a spraying irrigration system as the wet leaves encourage mold and also the brick edging I've used for the front yard looks a different color when it's wet. I tried some masonry sealer but that has not helped much (maybe it needs more coats)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 1:32AM
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Central_Cali369(Sunset Z9, Fresno, CA)

Mine sometimes get black tips. Having said that, these plants are native to areas of Australia where they go through long periods of drought. They may look like they are delicate, but they are actually very tough plants. I've killed them before by overwatering them. I have mine on a drip system with a single drip button on each clump (1/2 gallon/hour). The drip system goes on four times a week for four minutes each time, making it a total of 16 minutes a week, or roughly 1/8th of a gallon a week. They are interplanted with many other drought tolerant succulents and plants and they are constantly pushing out new fans and flower spikes. I can't immagine giving them several gallons daily.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 3:41PM
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Water every day?!? Once a twice a week at most and that only because you are trying to establish the young roots. If you water every day they will likely be dead by winter. From the site I linked:
Summer irrigation seems to shorten the life span of Kangaroo Paws, for all species except A. flavidus, yet many of the hybrids will look best if given ample water until the flowering period is over in late summer. Many of the species come from areas of prolonged summer drought and will tolerate similar conditions in cultivation; these species tend to be summer dormant and are easily rotted if given water once in dormancy.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 4:45PM
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OK thanks for the info on watering :-). I also bought the 1/2GPH drippers so I will water it as Josh does.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2009 at 11:43PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Mine has been so happy in a much neglected pot I've never dared take it out.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 12:42AM
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I have had three of these and didn't have very good luck with them, they all died so I have given up trying to grow them. They are so pretty though!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 12:35PM
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We used them in our fair display this year, and they held up very well. Three weeks packed together inside a hot building with no sunlight and very high humidity and we were still able to sell them when we cleaned up at the end. Al

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 9:25AM
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Well I'm happy to report that my KP is doing well. Quite a few new flowers have emerged and the plant looks healthy. I've installed the 0.5GPH drip buttons and the controller waters them for 5 mins daily. I will probably cutback the amount of water is once the hot weather is over.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 10:29PM
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miketrees(WA Australia)

Well I live in the middle of beautiful stands of kangaroo paws, that are living in their natural enviroment.
I still cant grow them, they die here as well

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 7:14AM
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kikifoow(9: Bay Area)

Being an Aussie transplant myself... had some experience with KP's. Water once a week is more than enough, except right at the beginning as suggested to get root growth established.

I can attest to the fact that my aunt's method of watering was once a week a saucepan of water just flung onto each KP. (She wouldn't know "delicate" gardening if it hit her). She also hacks back the KP's each year with a bread knife and the next year they seem even better.

Her theory is Aussie natives are USED to bad conditions and can handle pretty much anything EXCEPT TLC!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 5:41PM
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Hoping there are some of you still following this thread since it's a few years old. I bought some kangaroo paws a few months ago from a nursery. Planted them into pretty dry/sandy soil.

(note: I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to gardening)

They were doing pretty well when I first planted them. Growing new shoots, flowers, etc. Then they appeared to be dying after I planted them. Leaves were browning, flowers were drying out. So without doing any research whatsoever I assumed it was because they weren't being watered enough. So I watered them everyday for about 10 minutes.

Now I realize that I was probably killing them. I've since then allowed the dirt dry up and only water 3 times a week for 3 minutes.

I have a corrugated metal fence that they are planted against. The metal amplifies the sun's heat and sunlight. So I'm wondering if they are being "burned"?

Anyways, the plants do not look healthy and I think they are dying. Anything I can do to save or salvage them? Soil, adjust pH?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Kangaroo paw are best not planted too deep and like a well drained soil in a warm sunny position, with good air circulation, and make sure you don't over feed them as they are phosphorus sensitive. And too much nitrogen is also a problem. Can be cut back to just above the ground level in spring and will regrow with clean leaves. Copper spray or mancozeb will help control ink spot, best too keep leaves dry and only water once a week when established

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:57AM
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