Kangaroo paws are one of our most distinctive native plants, and come in tall and dwarf varieties in many colours. A question commonly asked by gardeners is what causes blackened leaves. Basically, anything that kills leaf tissue causes unsightly dark black marks to appear on the leaves. Here’s what to do.
Irregular black marks are a reaction to environmental stress, and caused by damage from snails or slugs, frost, too much or too little water, or nutritional stress. Fungal leaf spot diseases, such as rust and ink spot, show as circular lesions.
- Manage leaf problems by protecting plants from slugs, snail and frost. Supply adequate water, especially while the flowers are forming. Drooping flower buds are a sign that extra watering is required.
- Reduce stress on your plants by growing them in full sun in a well-drained soil and with adequate low-phosphorus fertiliser. Give them a generous handful after pruning and when flowering has finished.
- If you have heavy soil, Kangaroo grow paws in raised beds or large containers.
For more kangaroo paw troubleshooting, growing advice, and tips on choosing the best plant for your garden, check out the October issue.