Ligularia 'The Rocket'

Common Name: leopard plant 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Lemon yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Rain Garden
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade, Wet Soil


Best grown in rich, humusy, medium to wet soils in part shade to full shade in a location sheltered from winds. Must have moist soils that never dry out. Benefits from a regular, deep watering in hot summers. Site selection in hot summer climates can be a bit tricky because leaves tend to show wilt when grown in hot sun and flower spikes tend to grow on a slant toward brighter light when grown in shade. Probably best in partially shaded (afternoon shade) or dappled shade locations in the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

There are about 150 species in the genus, Ligularia. Most are native to Asia, especially Siberia, China and Japan. Ligularias have a basal rosette of large kidney-shaped, heart-shaped or triangular, often toothed leaves and stem leaves that decrease in size and number as they go up the stem. They have daisy-like, yellow to orange flowers held on narrow spikes, on long cone-shaped spikes or in flat-topped clusters. Ligularia fruits are cylindrical, usually hairless achenes. Ligularias can be large plants growing over 6 ft. tall.

Genus name comes from the Latin word ligula meaning strap in reference to the shape of the ray flowers.

'The Rocket' is an imposing, clump-forming perennial with a mounded habit which is grown both for its foliage and for its spectacular flower spires. Large, long-petioled, coarsely-toothed, triangularly heart-shaped, mostly basal, light green leaves (up to 1' long and wide) form a foliage mound that is attractive even when the flowers are not in bloom. Small, bright, lemon yellow, daisy-like flowers (1" across) appear in dense racemes (18-24" long) in mid-summer atop thick, purplish, alternately-leafed flower spikes towering above the foliage to 4' (infrequently to 5') tall. Sometimes sold as a cultivar of L. przewalskii. Closely related to and formerly included in the genus Senecio.


Slugs and snails can significantly damage the foliage. Even with adequate moisture, leaf wilting usually occurs in hot summer climates, particularly when the plant is exposed to too much sun.


Group or mass in moist or wet areas of shade or woodland gardens. Particularly effective along streams, ponds, pools or bog gardens. Excellent specimen for the shaded border as long as soil moisture requirements can be met.