Doronicum (dor-ON-ih-kum) – leopards bane is a deciduous, spring-blooming perennial that grows from tubers or rhizomes. This herbaceous perennial flower is also known as:
- Caucasian Leopard’s Bane
- Plantain Leopard’s Bane
- Great Leopard’s Bane
The Leopard’s Bane plant is a member of the Asteraceae family and hails from Europe.
The plant’s genus name, Doronicum, is derived from the Arabic word, doronigi, which is the Arabic name of the genus.
The common name, Leopard’s Bane, is said to have originated because arrows used for leopard hunting were dipped in the juice of the plant.
Doronicum Leopard’s Bane Gardening Tips
Size & Growth
Plants may range in height from 6″ inches to 4′ feet. Shorter varieties are well- suited to use on a balcony.
Leopard’s Banes are bushy plants with thin erect stalks and heart-shaped leaves.
Flowering & Fragrance
Doronicum provides a spring display of large yellow daisy-like flowers and may grow in clusters or individually.
Healthy plants will bloom twice, once in the springtime and again in the fall. Young plants bloom best.
Light & Temperature
Leopard’s Bane does best when planted in partial shade. The plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 8.
Watering & Feeding
These plants are not drought tolerant and need regular watering.
It’s best to water thoroughly immediately after planting and then provide deep watering about once a week unless rainfall exceeds 1″ inch weekly.
When introducing these plants to the garden, do not fertilize.
But after the first winter, when the plants emerge in the spring, provide a light fertilizing with a balanced (10–10–10) granular fertilizer or work organic compost into the surface of the soil.
Soil & Transplanting
Well-draining, sandy soil enriched with humus is best.
Soil should be consistently moist, not soggy. Mulching helps retain moisture and cools the soil.
Grooming & Maintenance
Be sure to deadhead the flowers after the spring blooming to encourage a full fall flowering.
Divide clumps every 2-3 years in early spring, late summer or early autumn when they are dormant.
How To Propagate Doronicum
Doronicum plants are propagated by separation, division or by seeds.
Propagate through root division while the plant is dormant. It’s best to sow seeds in starter pots in a cold frame early in the spring.
Leopand Bane Pest or Diseases
Caucasian Leopard’s Bane may be plagued by sawflies, thrips, spider mites and/or aphids.
Excessive watering or overhead watering can cause problems with fungus, white powdery mildew, and root rot.
Even though, most plants given the name “bane” are toxic, the sap of this plant is not. Even so, it is fairly repellent to deer and rabbits.
Leopard’s Bane is a noninvasive plant, but it will spread gradually on its own via rhizomes.
Suggested Doronicum Uses
Leopard’s Bane makes a good companion for late-blooming spring bulbs. Doronicum is a good choice for naturalizing.
It is also good as a cut flower and can be added to flowerbeds, containers and rock gardens with great success.