Ligularia stenocephala – The Rocket; Commonly called Senco or Leopard plant. This is a stately, noble specimen plant with huge leathery leaves. Give this moisture lover room as it can reach heights of 5 feet and easily 5 feet across. The leaves are serrated and deep green on top, with dark maroon/ green on the reverse side and on the stems. We use these huge leaves for making leaf castings. Tall spikes of golden yellow flowers start to climb above the foliage in mid to late summer and are a hummingbird favorite. The plant produces a large number of seeds, but don’t worry, you will not have a million seedlings; the plant is sterile. The plant will do well in part sun to mostly shade and is hardy here in northern WI (zone 4). Ligularia will live in most soils but prefers a rich moist soil. It will tolerate an overly moist soil, but not too much humidity. If the soil is too dry the plant will droop rather than die and in that case will need supplemental watering. There is a light sweet fragrance and the name means sweet smelling roots in Japanese which is where the species is from.
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