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FARFUGIUM japonicum var. giganteum

Image of Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum

James H. Schutte

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

FARFUGIUM japonicum var. giganteum

Plant Common Name

Giant Japanese Farfugium

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Huge, shiny green leaves the size of dinner plates occur on the giant Japanese farfugium, also called the giant leopard plant. It is among the prized shade garden foliage plants, with more resplendent foliage than any hosta or woodland wildflower. It manages to produce a tall flower stalk that surprises you as being a member of the daisy family. This perennial is native to the forests and moist slopes across Japan and southern China. It develops rhizome roots and its foliage remains evergreen as long as winter temperatures do not drop below 20 F (-6 C). It becomes a loosely clumping, mounded plant with a basal rosette of leaves.

New foliage emerges each spring. The long-stemmed leaves are leathery and glossy dark green. Each leaf blade is shaped like a plump heart or rounded kidney bean. Leaf diameters, on average are around 12 inches (30 cm), but 18-inch (46-cm) leaves aren't impossible! In fall and winter (or late summer), a tall branching flower stalk rises from the basal rosette. The stalk's many side branches carry clusters of yellow daisy blossoms. After insect pollination, dry seeds (achenes) develop.

Grow variety giganteum in a fertile, organic-rich, evenly (and consistently) moist but well-drained soil. Dappled shade to bright full shade is best, although healthy plants can tolerate some direct sun rays in the early morning or early evening hours. Do not plant in soggy or flooding soils. Also do not overfertilize the farfugium, which leads to weakened vigor and less beautiful foliage. Dry winds also causes this perennial to look peaked. Mulch over the rhizomes in regions where winters cause foliage to die back. In locations that are too cold in winter or too hot and sultry in summer, you may grow giant farfugium as a houseplant. Use this species as a groundcover or accent in a woodland garden, under an arbor, on the edges of streams or lakes, or in containers on the patio. The massive foliage magnificently adds textural interest to the shaded landscape. Watch out for slugs, as they will quickly devour this perennial's leaves.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 10

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    18"-24" / 45.7cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    20"-30" / 50.8cm - 76.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Summer, Early Fall, Fall, Late Fall, Early Winter, Winter

  • Native To

    Eastern Asia, China, Japan

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No