Ligularia x ‘Last Dance’

A wintry mix of weather blew into town this week, but Ligularia ‘Last Dance’ didn’t want the waltz to end. This recent introduction from Itsaul Plants looked smart all season with glossy bronze purple round foliage accented by slightly pointed lobes. To add Halloween contrast, it sent forth bright yellow composite flowers in October and is still blooming away as of 11/14. Hardy and tropical looking…hmm. First disclaimer…it did winter over in our zone 6 garden last year, but during the coldest period we were blanketed with snow. Ligularia x ‘Last Dance’ is a hybrid of  Ligularia (Farfugium) hiberniflora and Farfugium japonicum, two species from Japan and Taiwan, but the Farfugium japonicum can’t be trusted in zones colder than 7.

Ligularia ‘Last Dance’ is being marketed with plant tags saying it is hardy into zone 4. I’m thinking this is a stretch. Reports from commercial growers say it is growing and wintering in Zeeland, Michigan (Zone 6) and Philadelphia (Zone 7).  If you do want to grow this for its end of the season burst of color, here is the data: Foliage height is about 12″ high, and can grow to 2-3′ wide. Yellow blossoms are held on 1-2′ stems. It does well in sun or partial shade in a moist soil, but seems as happy in average conditions.

I think this season I will put down a winter mulch to protect my investment. Should it prove not to be zone 6 hardy, I say it should get 100 points for being a stunning container plant. Would love to hear from anyone else who is growing  Ligularia ‘Last Dance’.

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3 thoughts on “Ligularia x ‘Last Dance’”

  1. Oh my goodness. I hope it really is hardy. It would be an awesome addition to my little shade border here in Milwaukee — Zone 5. Thanks for introducing me to such a pretty plant (again)!

  2. Kathy, For what it’s worth I have been growing Farfugium japonicum ‘Aureomaculatum’ in my garden for 3 years now. Not only is it proving hardy (according to the new map I am about a mile over the line into zone 6…) but drought tolerant too!

  3. great news Kris!
    You’re close to the zone hardy line, but we are all experiencing more mild winters. And I think winter hardiness also comes back to soils having good drainage. Thanks for sharing!

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