Ligularia encompasses over 150 species of plants native to Europe and Asia. It is prized for its striking dark foliage and brilliant yellow flowers. Foliage ranges in color from green to maroon with lovely shades of bronze and purple. Leaves are typically rounded, or heart shaped and may have smooth, serrated or toothed edges.
This hardy perennial thrives in moist, shady areas in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ (Ligularia sp.)
This variety features large, glossy leaves with lightly serrated edges that are nearly chocolate above and deep purple beneath. It sends up dark stems topped with sunny orange blooms in mid to late summer. Although it can tolerate some sun, ‘Brit-Marie’ does best in the shade. It reaches heights of 3 to 4 feet with a matching width. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
‘Desdemona’ (Ligularia dentata)
‘Desdemona’ creates quite the sensation in the garden with its striking foliage and dark yellow blooms. Foliage starts out reddish-purple and gradually transforms to a deep green above with maroon below. The toothed edges to the leaves contrast nicely with the 3-to-4-inch blooms that appear in summer and last into the fall. It reaches heights of 2 to 3 feet with an equal spread. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
‘The Rocket’ (Ligularia stenocephala)
‘The Rocket’ earns its name from its striking spires of yellow flowers that emerge from mounding foliage in mid-summer. Triangular-shaped, toothed leaves start out deep burgundy in the spring and gradually change to dark green by the time flowers arrive. This variety grows to heights of 4 to 6 feet with a spread to match. It prefers a shady location and moist soil. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
‘Othello’ (Ligularia sp.)
‘Othello’ produces substantial mahogany colored leaves adorned with golden-yellow flowers. It grows to heights of 3 feet or more with a spread up to 4 feet. ‘Othello is more heat-tolerant than other varieties and can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9.
‘King Kong’ (Ligularia sp.)
The massive leaves on this variety account for its name as they reach a size of 16 inches across. Foliage emerges in shades of purple so dark it is nearly black and gradually transitions to a marvelous shade of purplish red. ‘King Kong’ blooms atop purple stems in mid to late summer creating a dazzling display of deep yellow to orange daisy-like flowers. It grows to heights of 4 feet with an equal spread. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 8.
‘Osiris Café Noir’ (Ligularia sp.)
‘Osiris Café Noir’ is ideal for tucking into small spaces as this dwarf variety grows to a height of less than 2 feet with a spread to match. Leathery foliage features jagged edges that emerge as a dark purple and transition to bronze and then to a lovely shade of olive green. Golden yellow daisy-like flowers appear atop dark stems in mid to late summer creating a color sensation in shady locations. This hardy variety will survive to USDA plant hardiness zone 3.
‘Little Rocket’ (Ligularia sp.)
‘Little Rocket’ is a compact plant with large triangular-shaped, saw-toothed leaves in a lovely shade of green. Flowers bloom on dark spikes in mid-summer bringing the landscape alive with color. This variety looks like ‘Rocket’ but is smaller with a height ranging from just under 2 feet to close to 3 feet with a spread of 2 feet. ‘Little Rocket’ is cold hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 2.
‘Dark Beauty’ (Ligularia dentata)
‘Dark Beauty’ earns its name from its striking dark plum foliage with lighter veins. Leaves are rounded and lightly serrated and remain a dark purple on the undersides. The mounding foliage reaches a height of 2 feet with bright blooms appearing in midsummer atop a tall stem that towers a foot or more over the foliage. Daisy-like blooms are yellow creating contrast and adding light to the area. ‘Dark Beauty’ is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zone 3a.
‘Gregynog Gold’ (Ligularia sp.)
‘Gregynog Gold’ is a large ligularia that reaches heights to 3 to 5 feet with a spread of 2 to 3 feet. Its rounded, slightly wavy leaves are a deep green, and it is adorned with large daisy-like flowers of deep gold in mid to late summer. It thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 5a to 9b. This variety is well suited for the backs of gardens or along shaded borders to the yard.
‘Little Lantern’ (Ligularia sp.)
‘Little Lantern’ is a small variety reaching a height of just under 2 feet with a spread slightly larger. Its large, rounded leaves remain a deep green throughout the season and sport a spire of golden daisy-like flowers in mid to late summer. It is hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9 but may do well in sheltered locations in zones 2 and 3. Tuck ‘Little Lantern’ into out of the way places or dark corners to brighten the landscape.
‘Dragon Wings’ (Ligularia przewalskii)
‘Dragon Wings’ is an unusual variety as it sports deeply-cut, saw-toothed edges on its bright green foliage. It reaches a height of 4 to 5 feet with a spread up to 3 feet. Golden blooms line tall spires in mid to late summer making a striking contrast with the jagged foliage. This variety is best suited for planting in the background or along borders in shady or partially shady areas. It is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
‘BBQ Banana’ (Ligularia dentata)
‘BBQ Banana’ produces dark chocolate brown, heart-shaped leaves in a mounding habit. Clusters of golden daisy-like flowers appear atop tall, dark stems in mid to late summer. It grows to heights of 2 to 4 feet with an equal spread. ‘BBQ Banana’ makes an attractive specimen plant, or it can be grown in the middle or backs of flowerbeds. It is hardy to USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.