Great Plants for Northern Gardens: Day 5 — Ligularia

ligularia before bloom

Even before it blooms in midsummer, ligularia is an impressive presence in this South St. Paul garden.

If you have a damp garden or a pond and you want a plant with impact, you cannot do better than ligularia.

Several species of ligularia grow well in the North, providing interest with their large, kidney-shaped leaves and tall spikes of yellow flowers. Ligularia bloom for several weeks in the mid to late summer, but with or without flowers they area force to be reckoned with in the garden.

A favorite cultivar is ‘The Rocket’ ( Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’), which can spread to 4 or 5 feet in the garden with flower spikes 4 or more feet tall. These work beautifully at the back of a border or the edge of a pond. Another popular variety is ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ (Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’), which is hard to USDA Zone 3. It has dark, purple leaves and daisy-like flowers.

All ligularia grow best in sun to partial sun, with sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon being the best situation for them. They require rich soil and moist conditions. If you can provide those conditions, ligularia will reward you with years of bloom.

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