top of page

Leonotis leonurus


Water Needs

low; moderate water wise

Leonotis leonurus
Shrub medium
Wild Dagga; Cape Hemp; Lion’s Ear

2 - 3 m


Light Conditions





orange white autumn to winter

Garden Situation

sun; rockery; shrubbery; grassland; sandy soils; dry soils; windy exposed; slope bank; wildlife bees birds butterflies insects butterfly host; narrow spaces; fast-growing easy-care; clay soils;


coastal eastern cape; coastal kzn; coastal western cape; fynbos; bushveld; grassland; urban streets


thicket; subtropical east coast; highveld; bushveld savanna; western cape

Rain Season

winter; summer

Find informative indigenous gardening articles in our web magazine -


This is the most commonly grown of the Leonotis family all of which are members of the mint family. Wild Dagga is a hardy, strong-growing shrub with a woody stem, lance-shaped leaves and large heads of velvety orange flowers in autumn and winter. Nectar-filled flowers attract sunbirds and insects, and are an important part of the winter wildlife menu. Flowers are covered with soft, short hairs giving it a most attractive soft. The flower whorls open up consecutively up to the stalk, ensuring a continuous supply of food. It occurs in a variety of habitats most commonly in rocky areas in grassland. In the garden shrubs grow to 2 – 3 m with a spread of 1- 1.5 m. The blue-green leaves are rough and hairy, carried quite far apart along the wooden stem. A white form, White Lion, is available, as well as a new variety, called Peaches and Cream, a delicate mix of the white and orange varieties. The white form is rare in the wild and is best propagated by cuttings as the seed does not produce a true colour. This white variety looks particularly good planted with the Aloe arborescens, making a lovely contrast as they flower at the same time. The best position for this shrub is at the back of the bed, in full sun. Prune back hard once flowering is over otherwise shrubs become woody with reduced foliage and flowers. Plants need replacing every few years, but do seed fairly easily, so watch out for any seedlings and transplant to your chosen position.

Leonotis leonurus
Leonotis leonurus
bottom of page