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Plant Encyclopedia

Lion's Ear

Leonotis nepetifolia

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Lion's Ear (Leonotis nepetifolia) at Ted Lare Design and Build

Lion's Ear flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Lion's Ear (Leonotis nepetifolia) at Ted Lare Design and Build

Lion's Ear foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Lion's Ear (Leonotis nepetifolia) at Ted Lare Design and Build

Lion's Ear in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  6 feet

Flower Height:  8 feet

Spread:  3 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)

Other Names:  Klip Dagga, Devil's Pincushion, Lion's Tail


This variety is a very interesting member of the mint family presenting gorgeous whorls of orange tubular blooms rising high in late summer or early fall; prefers sun and light shade

Ornamental Features

Lion's Ear features showy clusters of orange tubular flowers rising above the foliage from late summer to early fall. Its narrow leaves remain green in color throughout the season.

Landscape Attributes

Lion's Ear is an herbaceous annual with a rigidly upright and towering form. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best cleaned up in early spring before it resumes active growth for the season. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading

Lion's Ear is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Vertical Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Herb Gardens
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Lion's Ear will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity extending to 8 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 3 feet. Although it's not a true annual, this fast-growing plant can be expected to behave as an annual in our climate if left outdoors over the winter, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. This species is not originally from North America.

Lion's Ear is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Articulation  Massing  Garden  Herb  Container 
Flowers  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features

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