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Products > Leonotis leonurus
Leonotis leonurus - Lion's Tail

[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) (Mints)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Orange
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Height: 4-8 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
Leonotis leonurus (Lion's Tail) - An erect evergreen shrub to 4 to 6 or more feet tall by nearly as wide with a branching woody base that produces many erect herbaceous stems bearing dark green 4 to 6 inch long narrow lanceolate leaves with softly serrated margins. From late spring through fall appear the fuzzy orange curved tubular flowers held in whorls at spaced intervals around the top half of the long upright stems with newest buds produced near the branch tips. Plant in full sun in a well-drained soil. This plant is drought tolerant but can tolerate and thrive with regular irrigation and it can survive and remain evergreen in temperatures down to 20 degrees F and if it freezes back in the winter, it will often resprout with new growth from hardened wood - for this reason it is often treated as a perennial and has been known to grow in the south of England and USDA Zone 8 gardens. In cold locations plants should be mulched well to protect the wood crown and in even colder locations can be grown as an annual. It responds well to pruning, remaining more dense and smaller and should be pruned yearly after flowering. It is useful as a screening plant but can occasionally reseed in the garden. The flowers are good in arrangements (stem bottom should be burned) and it is known to attract birds (a magnet for hummingbirds), bees and butterflies to the garden, yet deer seem to leave it alone. Though southern California gardeners have long called this plant Lion's Tail it is also known by some as Lion's Ear, Lion's Claw and Minaret Flower. The name Lion's Ear is a translation of the name given to the genus from the Greek words 'leon' meaning "lion" and 'otis' meaning "ear" in reference to the resemblance of the flower to a lion's ear. The specific epithet leonurus means "lion colored". It is also known as Wild Dagga (a name also used for the unrelated Cannabis sativa) because of its traditional medical uses in South Africa, where it is found growing naturally among rocks in the grasslands of the Cape district and the Transvaal. We have grown and sold this great garden plant since 1988.  Information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library, from online sources, as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens where we have observed it. We also will incorporate comments received from others and welcome getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips would aid others in growing Leonotis leonurus.