I’m loving this shade combination in a container garden at my home. All the plants in this design are perennials except for one plant, and several are simultaneously shooting up blooms. The Ligularia ‘Little Rocket’, a dwarf form, is showing off the bright yellow blooms on spikes now, which can be seen from afar.
Ligularias have bold foliage which make them perfect candidates for container gardens and gardens in the ground. Their foliage factor makes them appealing for a long period before blooms appear in mid to late summer. But of course, I was drawn to it first because of its showy foliage that is often available in darker colors and with serrated leaf edges. This adds a texture and color contrast against other plants. Some cultivars grow large leaves. When you place other part-shade lovers near it, like a Hosta, Astilbe, or ferns, they tend to work in harmony from a visual standpoint. And when you place Ligularia near water, by a pond for example, its tall spiky flowers will reflect in the water. Since they enjoy moist soils, this is a perfect added on feature to enjoy from a visual perspective.
If you look closely at the photos below of the Ligularia in a container, you will also see the Astilbe is about to bloom soon, and the Heuchera is shooting up a thin stem with blooms on top. The bees have hummed by each day lately to visit the Ligularia’s bright showy tall flowers and the entire arrangement is just a healthy, happy scene I had to share today.
I’m also loving my Ligularia dentate ‘Desdemona’ situated by my River Birch in my yard this year. It is huge and never wilts because the soil there is perfectly moist. As shown in the photo above and below, this one is planted in the ground where the soil stays very moist most of the year and it enjoys this spot very much. The leaves and flowers are both remarkable on this plant. When it blooms, the style of the flowers are different from ‘Little Rocket’; they are daisy shaped and appear on the tips in August. They prefer part-shade and this one has darker foliage. You will notice the Hosta tucked in next to it, and there is also a Columbine but you can’t see it to well from this distance photo shot. On the left is a Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’ that will grow leaves up to 6 inches across and they have gold and yellow spots on them. Once this plant gets bigger, it will be more showy and the daisy-like flowers will bloom in early summer too, hopefully. This one is not hardy to our zone, but I put it there anyways because – again – another foliage feature I can not resist. It also enjoys part sun to part shade locations.
As I pointed out both Ligularia plants to Steve, my husband, he asked, “Is that like a Christina Aguilera?” Yes, it sounds just like the singer’s last name, I responded. He continued to joke that I enjoy saying the word Ligularia. And that is true. I love saying and growing Ligularias! Give them a try if you haven’t already for your shady areas. 🙂 Cathy T
Update: Check out this new Ligularia przewalskii ‘Dragon Wings’ with very cool finger like foliage. I want this one for next year. See this link for more: http://www.terranovanurseries.com/media/ligulariadragonwings-p-272.html