Bottle Rocket Plants
These late summer-flowering plants are typically robust vigorous moisture lovers that do well on the edge of the pool and in partial shade. Magnificent in bright sun too, as long as the roots are kept wet. Bottle rocket plants are members of the Ligularia family, a type of Aster and native to the Far East and Asia. There are around a hundred and fifty species and a number of the them and their hybrids have made it into our gardens. There are basically two flower growth forms: the soaring spike, gradually flowering from the bottom up, and the cluster of daisies form.
They must be kept moist and slugs are a constant menace, particularly in the spring when the new growth appears.. Otherwise they are grand trouble-free perennials. Propagation is easy, just divide the root crown when the foliage has died back at the first hard frost.
The usual Ligularia ‘Bottle Rocket’ is a hybrid that grows 3 feet tall and is a favorite with hummingbirds. Zones 5-8
Ligularia ‘Bottle Rocket’
The Ligularia ‘King Kong’ hybrid reaches 4 feet tall. Zones 4-9
Ligularia ‘King Kong’
Ligularia sibirica reaches 6 feet tall and is more tolerant of sun provided the roots are kept moist. Zones 4-9
Ligularia ‘Siberian Rocket’
Ligularia stenocephala, The Rocket, also known as Golden Ray and the Elephant Ear Ligularia, grows up to 5 feet tall, zones 3-8
Ligularia stenocephala ‘The Rocket’
The Ligula dentata leopard plant grows 3-4 feet tall and has chocolate leaves that flash a raspberry red underside in the breeze. Zones 4-9
Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawfotrd’
The ‘Leopard’ Ligularia dentata is a bit more compact and gets its name from the small spots that appear on its heart-shaped leaves.
Leopard Ligularia dentata
Another nice compact Bottle Rocket plant is L. hodgsonii, a species growing only to two to three feet tall, and producing a nice flat-topped cluster of daisies. Native of Japan, hardy in zones 4 to 8.
Featured image: Ligularia stenocephala