Leopard Plant Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Hard-care
leopard plant 'Desdemona'


Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona', commonly known as leopard plant, is a striking perennial known for its unique foliar and floral characteristics. Its foliage has a bold, rounded and heart-shaped appearance with a distinctive coloration pattern. The leaves are typically a rich olive green, and while the upper surface of the leaf bears this dominant color, the underside displays a contrasting purplish-bronze hue, which adds a dramatic flair to the garden when the leaves are rustled by the wind. The leopard plant produces eye-catching flowers during the summer to early autumn. The blooms are tall, bright golden-yellow, daisy-like and cluster atop sturdy stems that tower elegantly above the foliage. These blossoms are notably large and composed of slender petals that radiate from a central cone, creating a cheerful display that's highly attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The overall form of Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona' is mounding, with a lush, dense arrangement of leaves that creates an impression of robustness and vigour. The contrast between the deep green tops and reddish-purple undersides of the leaves, along with the bright pop of golden flowers, makes the leopard plant a vibrant addition to any garden setting where it can thrive in moist, shady conditions typically found in woodland gardens or along pond margins.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Leopard Plant, Golden Groundsel, Ragwort.

    • Common names

      Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The plant commonly known as Leopard Plant is not typically considered toxic to humans. There are no significant symptoms of poisoning associated with the Leopard Plant, as it is usually deemed safe when handling or if accidentally ingested in small amounts.

    • To pets

      Leopard Plant is also not generally known to be toxic to pets. It does not usually cause significant symptoms of poisoning in animals such as cats or dogs. Therefore, ingesting parts of the Leopard Plant isn't expected to result in any serious consequences for pets. However, it's always a good practice to prevent pets from eating plants, as individual sensitivities can vary.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      3-4 feet (0.91-1.22 meters)

    • Spread

      2-3 feet (0.61-0.91 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: Adds a bold, dramatic touch to gardens with its large, kidney-shaped leaves and intense orange-yellow flowers.
    • Habitat for Wildlife: Attracts a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, contributing to biodiversity.
    • Shade Tolerance: Thrives in partial shade, making it a versatile choice for garden areas that receive less sunlight.
    • Moisture-Loving: Prefers wet or consistently moist soil, ideal for waterside plantings or rain gardens.
    • Seasonal Interest: Provides a splash of color in the summer when it blooms, and the foliage adds interest throughout the growing season.
    • Naturalization: Can spread to form natural-looking drifts, making it suitable for informal or cottage-style gardens.
    • Companion Planting: Pairs well with other shade-loving plants to create visually appealing and diverse plant compositions.
    • Easy to Grow: Generally easy to care for with minimal maintenance requirements once established.
    • Foliage Contrast: The dark foliage can provide a stunning contrast against brighter plants or light-colored foliage.
    • Soil Erosion Control: The dense growth can help stabilize soil in areas that are prone to erosion.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona', commonly known as leopard plant, can be used in rain gardens due to its tolerance for wet soil conditions and its ability to help manage water runoff.
    • The large, bold foliage of the leopard plant can create dramatic backdrops in theater productions or photo shoots when a lush, tropical scenery is needed.
    • Dried leaves of the leopard plant can be arranged in a shadow box or frame to produce natural art pieces for interior decoration.
    • Leopard plants can serve as living barriers or privacy screens in garden settings, providing both aesthetic appeal and functional space division.
    • The plant can be used in educational settings, such as schools or nature centers, to teach children about plant biology and the importance of biodiversity in gardens.
    • Leopard plant foliage can be used as a green accent in floral arrangements or bouquets during its growing season.
    • In ponds or water features, Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona' can provide shade and shelter for aquatic wildlife, contributing to a balanced ecosystem.
    • Its vibrant and distinctive flowers can be used for natural dyeing of fabrics or paper, offering an eco-friendly dye source.
    • Gardeners can use the leopard plant as a companion plant to attract beneficial insects that help with pest control, due to its large flowers that appeal to pollinators.
    • The textural contrast of Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona's leaves can be utilized in sensory gardens designed for therapeutic horticulture programs.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The plant Ligularia is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The plant Ligularia is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Ligularia 'Desdemona', commonly known as Leopard Plant, often symbolizes resilience due to its ability to thrive in damp, shaded environments where other plants may struggle.
    • Vibrancy: The plant's bright, bold flowers and dark foliage signify vibrancy and energy, reflecting its arresting visual presence in any garden.
    • Transformation: The Leopard Plant undergoes a dramatic transformation from its early leaf stages to its full flowering, symbolizing growth and change.
    • Attraction: Due to its unique appearance, the Leopard Plant is often associated with attraction and allure, representing a magnetic presence.

Every 2-3 days
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Leopard Plant requires consistently moist soil, so water thoroughly whenever the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. During the growing season, this may mean watering once or twice a week, especially in hot, dry weather. Apply water directly to the base of the plant to avoid wetting the foliage, using roughly 1 to 1.5 gallons per plant each time you water. During the cooler months, reduce watering frequency to match the plant's reduced growth and evaporation rates. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely, as this can stress the plant and lead to wilted leaves.

  • sunLight

    Leopard Plant thrives in partial shade to full shade conditions. The best spot for the plant is somewhere shielded from intense afternoon sun, which can scorch its leaves. A location receiving filtered sunlight or morning sun with afternoon shade is ideal to maintain its vibrant foliage and support healthy growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Leopard Plant prefers a temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and should not be exposed to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit for prolonged periods. The ideal temperature range supports vigorous growth and helps prevent cold damage. It can survive brief dips in temperature, but consistently cold conditions can be detrimental to its health.

  • scissorsPruning

    Leopard Plant should be pruned to remove dead or damaged leaves and to maintain its shape. The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Cut back the old foliage to ground level to encourage fresh leaves and flowers. Pruning is only needed once a year, as the plant will naturally die back in winter.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Leopard Plant thrives in rich, moist soil with good drainage. The best soil mix is one part peat, one part loam, and one part sand. The ideal soil pH for Leopard Plant is between 6.5 and 7.0, leaning towards slightly acidic to neutral.

  • plantRepotting

    Leopard Plant should be repotted every 2-3 years to replenish the soil and provide room for growth. It is best to repot in the spring before the onset of the growing season.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Leopard Plant prefers high humidity levels, ideally above 60%. To maintain optimal humidity, it can be placed in a naturally humid environment or misted regularly, excluding watering schedules.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright, indirect light and high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade with moist soil.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Ligularia 'Desdemona', commonly known as the Leopard Plant, begins its life as a seed, which germinates in moist soil conditions in the spring. The seedling emerges and develops a basal rosette of large, kidney-shaped, dark green leaves with purple undersides. As the plant matures, it forms a clump that expands through its rhizomatous root system. In mid to late summer, tall flower stalks rise above the foliage, bearing bright orange-yellow, daisy-like flowers that attract pollinators. After flowering, the plant sets seed, and as temperatures drop in autumn, its leaves die back to the ground. Overwintering occurs at the root level, where the rhizomes survive the cold dormant period to resprout the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method of propagating Ligularia dentata 'Desdemona', commonly known as Leopard Plant, is through division. The best time for this process is in spring, just as the plant begins to show new growth. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the entire plant and gently separate the clump into smaller sections, ensuring that each new section has at least one shoot and a portion of the root system intact. The divisions should then be replanted immediately at the same depth they were growing at originally, spaced adequately apart to allow for mature growth. Water the newly planted divisions thoroughly to help establish them. Each section can then develop into a new plant, given the proper care and conditions.