Perennial Plant of the Week - Leopard Plant

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Do you have a shade garden? Are you looking for a fall blooming yellow flower with large leaves? Leopard plant (Ligularia dentata 'Othello') might be just the plant to consider. This herbaceous perennial is best grown in a humusy soil that is rich in organic matter. It preference is a medium to wet site that is in part shade to full shade. It is imperative that the site never fully dries out. Because of the need for moisture, this plant will benefit from a regular, deep watering during the summer, especially when temperature are high and Mother-Nature hasn't provided adequate moisture. If this plant dries out, or if it is exposed to excess sun, it will wilt quickly. Additionally, it will not fair well in a windy site, and needs protection from drying winds.


The genus name comes from the Latin word ligula meaning strap in reference to the shape of the ray flowers. The daisy-like flowers are normally each 2 to 3" across. There are multiple flowers per plant.


Othello Flower
Photo Credit: Amy Stone, OSU Extension, Lucas County


The leaves are broad and are of interest in the garden due in part to their size and texture. 'Othello', the cultivar in this alert, is grown as much for its dark colored foliage as it is for its flowers. The new leaves emerge purplish-red, but mature to brownish-green on top, and shades of purple on the undersides. The petioles, veins, and flower stalks this cultivar are distinctively reddish-purple.


Leaf of Othello
Photo Credit: Amy Stone, OSU Extension, Lucas County


This combination of flowers and leaves make a nice edition in the landscape if you have the right site. Always remember, The Right Plant For The Right Site. Favorite garden uses should include: groups or masses in moist or wet areas of shade or woodland gardens, or along streams, ponds, pools or bog gardens. Remember, it has to have a moist site to succeed! It is a good plant for a shady area on the north side of a house, given that area doesn't dry out, or can be closely monitored and irrigated when needed. If conditions are perfect, this plant will thrive and you may have some extras to share with friends and family, or other areas in your own garden along the way.



Othello in Bloom
Photo Credit: Amy Stone, OSU Extension, Lucas County