HYBRID LEOPARD’S BANE/Doronicum ‘Magnificum’
For a cheery show of colour in May, the Daisy flowers of the perennial Doronicum ‘Magnificum’ make an excellent choice for linking late Spring to the early days of Summer. The vibrant colour of the flowers echoes the Spring colour of brightest yellow, and the flowers themselves last well as cut blooms indoors. The cultivar D. ‘Magnificum’ has larger flowers than the species and is an excellent companion plant to use with purple Pansies, or with the blues of Muscari. The basal leaves are smooth and kidney-shaped, while those further up the stem are more oval and clasping; their rich green is a welcome sight after the dull days of Winter. The common name arises from the belief that the plant provided some sort of protection against leopards, but this belief remains unproven!
This plant is fully frost-hardy and can be grown in most gardens in the UK: native to rocky mountain-sides of South Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it welcomes protection from very cold winds in Spring.
Grow D. ‘Magnificum’ in full sun or shade: this is a plant which tolerates a range of conditions without fuss.
Keep container-grown plants just moist at all times: in Summer, ensure tat thedoes not dry out at all.
This tough outdoor plant has no need of any additional humidity.
If replanted each year into fresh compost, no feed will be required; plants left for a couple of seasons in the same container need feeding with a general-purpose fertilizer in late Winter as the new growth appears.
Grow the Hybrid Leopard’s Bane in a good-quality, free-draining compost – a loam-based mix is easier to manage and much easier to keep moist; divide or plant-up in Autumn.
As a herbaceous peonsnial, Doronicum ‘Maginificum’ dies down in Winter, so if used as a tub plant, it is best grown in a separate pot, which should be plunged into the ornamental container once growth begins. This allows other plants of seasonal interest to be used as required to fill the tub when the Doronicum is dormant.
Aphids In really mild weather in May, Aphids may cluster in sticky masses around the tips of the shoots: eradicate any infestations as soon as possible, using an appropriate insecticide.