UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Leonotis leonurus

lee-oh-NO-tus lee-oh-NURE-us
Common Name
Lion's Tail
Plant Type
Mature Size
4 ft. to 6 ft. wide and tall
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full sun
Flower Color
  • Bees
  • Butterflies
  • Other birds
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

This upright shrub from South Africa has bright eye-catching orange flowers. A single lion's tail works well as a late summer/early fall garden focal point. The flowers can also be stunning in a flower arrangement. From a design standpoint, we don't recommend massing a large number of lion's tail plants because the strong color can overwhelm a garden.

It is a good idea to prune these shrubs in the early spring after the danger of frost is past to control size. Some of our Master Gardeners prune these shrubs down to six inches from the ground; others prune by half. How much you choose to prune lion's tail is just a matter of deciding how large you want these plants to be in your garden. With no pruning at all these plants can get really big, really quickly.

Lion's tail can be frost tender but in our experience, they rebound quickly. If this plant does get frost damaged, it is recommended that you cut down to live growth in the spring after the danger of frost is past.

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