Wednesday, October 13th, 2010...12:00 am

Farfugium – Giant Leopard Plant

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Farfugium japonicum cv. Aureo-maculata by brewbooks

TheGardenLady received this question from Jane.

We live in Zone 7 and have just this summer planted a giant leopard plant – farfugium. We are wondering if we need to bring it in for the winter or just cover it with mulch. If so, how much mulch?

TheGardenLady has Ligularia growing in the garden. This name was difficult enough to pronounce but now the Latin name has changed. Now we have to remember that the new Latin name is Farfugium- though websites and many nurseries still refer to the plant as Ligularia.  See here.  Very confusing, isn’t it? Anyway, if readers have this plant and have been told it is called Ligularia, you can tell people its new name. Or if you want to buy this plant, refer to it with both names in case the salespeople don’t know that it is now Farfugium when it is being sold. So to this questioner, congratulations that you know the name it is now.

If your giant leopard plant is indeed Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculata’ it is supposed to be hardy in Zone 7 so you should not have to bring it indoors for the winter. (Different farfugium have different temperature zone needs and the common name of different farfugiums can be leopard plant – thus you should have the entire Latin name; for example, the japonicum tells that it is from Japan. Others originate in China, Taiwan or Korea. Knowing where it is from helps in knowing the zone it grows best in.) You would keep the less hardy farfugium in pots as you would keep Farfugium japonicum in pots if you were raising it in zones 1thru 6.

So in guessing that you have the Farfugium japonicum, I believe your Farfugium should overwinter where you live. The main thing this plant does want all year is adequate moisture. It will need moisture even in the winter. (I just lost one farfugium this summer in our drought.)

If you are feeling insecure about it not being warm enough to overwinter, you can always put on a mulch. Again, the type of mulch you use will determine the depth. Usually from two to four inches will work. More than that and you are encouraging problems like voles who like to hide where they can’t be seen. A lot of my friends and I use leaves which are cheap and plentiful in the fall. Some mulch suggestions are in the following website.

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