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Leonotis nepetifolia

Pronunciation: Lee-on-oh-tis nep-eh-ti-foh-lee-uh
Family: Lamiaceae/labiatae (mint family)
Synonym: Leonotis nepetaefolia
Common Name: Annual lion's ear, lion's ear
Plant Type:
  • annual
Height to: 8'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
  • 50 to 40ºF ZONE 11
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
Bloom Season:
  • late summer
  • early autumn
Bloom Description: The flowers are borne in rounded, spiny clusters, 2-4 in (5. 1-10. 2 cm) across, that encircle the stems so that it looks like the stems are growing right through the middle of the clusters. As the stems elongate, new flower clusters continue to develop above the older ones. The tubular flowers that peek out of the spiny heads are orange and furry, like a lion's ear, so they say. The flowers are about 1 in (2. 5 cm) long and curve downward.
Plant Perks:
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Attracts Hummingbirds
  • Attracts Butterflies
Propagation: Annual lion's ear is easy to grow from seed, and under favorable conditions will self sow
Native to: Annual lion's ear was originally native to tropical and subtropical africa, as are the 30 other species in the genus. However, it is now naturalized all over the world in appropriate climates, where it grows along road shoulders, in abandoned fields and in disturbed areas. Annual lion's ear occurs throughout florida and much of the american south. It is listed as an invasive garden plant in australia and a pest plant in hawaii, but annual lion's ear is not really a serious pest in most areas, because it mainly grows in areas already highly disturbed, or where the original vegetation has been destroyed, and it doesn't seem to displace native species.
Notes for Identification: Annual lion's ear is a coarse textured, rather gangly plant and not well suited for formal or very tidy gardens. It is great, however in a butterfly garden or a naturalized shrub and perennial garden, especially behind shorter, bushier plants. Annual lion's ear is tall and slender, and looks good behind salvias and butterfly bushes. The flowers are produced up high, above most of the other annuals and perennials. The hummingbirds really love this plant. They hover next to a flower or even perch right on a cluster and drink for 10 seconds or more at a time, longer than at most any other kind of flower. The hummers keep coming back to the pretty orange flowers all day long
Located in: Annual
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