Summer ragwort – info, planting, care and tips

Summer ragwort (Ligularia dentata)
Summer ragwort (Ligularia dentata) - by Pieter Pelser

The summer ragwort is an imposing and easy to care for, but little-known flowering and leaf ornament for moist soils. It is also known under the name of leopardplant.

Profile of summer ragwort:

Scientific name: Ligularia dentata

Plant family: daisy family (Asteraceae)

Other names: leopardplant

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: July to September

Location: partially shaded

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: flowerbeds, flower meadows, pond planting, underplanting, flower garden, natural garden, forest garden, water garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-32 °C / -25 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of summer ragwort

Plant order, origin and occurrence of summer ragwort

The summer ragwort (Ligularia dentata) is a stately flower and leaf ornamental plant from East Asia. There it grows mainly on river banks and in sparse alluvial forests. Ligularia dentata is also known under the name leopardplant, but not to be confused with the true ragworts of the plant genus Senecio. The genus ragwort (Ligularia) contains over 120 different species, most of which are native to China or Japan. It belongs to the large daisy family (Asteraceae). The plant contains toxins.

Characteristics of summer ragwort


Summer ragwort is a long-lived, broadly upright growing perennial. It grows between 80 and 150 centimeters (32 and 60 in) high. The plant grows from the underground rhizome as a densely leafed cluster with protruding flower umbels. The above-ground parts of the plant die in autumn.


The summer ragwort has large, rounded to heart-shaped leaves with a serrated edge. They are long-stalked and the undersides of the leaves are purple in contrast to the dull green upper side of the leaf. There are also other leaf colors in cultivated varieties.


The summer ragwort has about 10 centimeters (4 in) large, golden-yellow flowers. They stand in flat panicles above the foliage on strong stems. The summer flowering period extends from July to September. The flowers are particularly popular with butterflies and bees.


The achenes emerge from the pollinated flowers. These are single nut fruits.

Summer ragwort – cultivation and care


A partially shaded location is just right for summer ragwort because it is also used to it from its natural locations. The more sun the plant has in the area, the more humid the soil should be.


The right garden soil for the leopardplant should be rich in nutrients, as permanently moist as possible and sandy-humic or sandy-loamy.

Planting summer ragwort

It is best to plant summer ragwort in the spring before flowering. You should keep enough distance from the surrounding plants so that the plant has room to grow. Fully grown specimens need about 80 to 100 centimeters (32 to 40 in) of space in diameter.


In very dry, summerly weather, the plant should be watered regularly.


In spring, it is happy to receive a gift of compost or organic perennial fertilizer.


The perennial only needs pruning of the above-ground, dead plant parts in late autumn or early spring.


Ligularia dentata should be able to grow as undisturbed as possible. Even after years, the plant does not age and can grow in the same location for many years.


The leopardplant can be propagated in spring by cutting off pieces of rhizome from older specimens. The plant often sows itself in the garden if the seed heads are allowed to ripen.

Diseases and pests

Especially in spring, when the leaves are freshly sprouting, summer ragwort is unfortunately very susceptible to snail damage.


The summer ragwort is hardydown to -32 °C / -25 °F and therefore does not need any special protective measures in autumn.

Use in the garden

Summer ragwort comes into its own as a solitary perennial on the edge of a pond, on the partially shaded woodland edge or in wet meadows. At the edge of the garden pond you can combine the perennial well with the Siberian iris or meadowsweet, for example.


  • The English variety ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ has chestnut brown leaves. This harmonizes very well with the warm yellow of the flowers. The underside of the leaves is colored purple and the height is 120 centimeters (48 in)
  • ‘Desdemona’ is a tried and tested German cultivation with orange-yellow flowers and rather loose inflorescences and red-violet leaves underneath and grows up to height 100 centimeters (40 in
  • ‘Orange Queen’ flowers orange and has pure green leaves and its height is150 centimeters (60 in)

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