I’ve had a love affair with Farfugium for a long time. When we moved from Florida to Iowa I brought one along to try the lovely farfugium as a houseplant. The good news is that it is flourishing!
The big, bold leaves of farfugium, also known as Leopard Plant, are the main attraction. It is a member of Daisy family, so while it does send up spikes of yellow flowers, to me these seem out of place with the large tropical leaves. I’ve even heard farfugium referred to as Tractor Seat Plant, and I can certainly see that in the broad leaf shape.
I first referenced Farfugium on here back in 2015 in my New and Underused Plants post. Back then it was really hard to find. Lately though, it seems that farfugium is showing up all over. In the warmer parts of the country it is finding popularity as a landscape plant. Hardy in zones 7b and warmer, I’ve seen it growing in Norfolk, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia in large masses.
There are several varieties available on the market although my favorite is definitely Farfugium japonicum ‘Giganteum’. It has the largest and glossiest leaves of an available.
Tips for growing Farfugium as a houseplant:
- Allow soil to dry out between watering. Over-watering is the fastest way to kill any houseplant. I even allow my plant to wilt slightly (the heavy leaves will droop) to make sure I am not watering too much.
- Use a quality potting soil.
- Gradually increase pot size as needed. This goes back to overwatering, but basically you want the plant’s soil to dry out and in a huge pot it will just stay too wet.
I am just finding this post, and I am so thankful for it! I found a Farfugium at my local garden shop planted in a terracotta pot in the houseplant and perennial section. I’d never seen leaves like that! And I could just picture it looking so exotic and interesting in my home as a houseplant. I went back and bought it the next day, and it looks stunningly beautiful to me as a houseplant. I love the Japanese aesthetic it exudes. Your post supports my wanting to have Fargugium as a houseplant and not solely as a landscape plant as it seems to be thought of in my area. Being creative with plants and thinking outside of the box is a creative outlet for the soul. Thank you again for the encouragement to go with what is beautiful to you!
Hi Sasha! I now keep two of these as houseplants and they are lovely! I’ve found that when they aren’t getting enough light the leaves get long and stretched out indicating it needs a better location. Just something to keep an eye out for.
Hi! I need help, my plants seems to be dying and I’d hate to see that happen. It seems that the stalks are drying out. Do you have any suggestions!
My first question would be water. Is it staying too wet? This can cause the plant to decline even more so than going dry! Try letting it dry out enough that the plant actually wilts a bit before watering. Allow this drying out to happen during the next couple of watering periods to get your root system back on track.
I’m wondering if yours flowers indoors? I have a little one as a new house plant, and I’m excited to watch it grow! If it doesn’t flower indoors, I won’t mind, but I was just curious. Thank you for this blog about them, because it was very informational for my purposes!
Yes, mine has flowered! The flowers look so different from the foliage but it is nice to see those butter yellow flowers.
I planted the seeds and received plus minus 200 new plants during lockdown. I gave every friend s little plant. I am so proud of mine. The are now now nearly 8 inches high
Oh! I didn’t even know you could propagate these from seed– well done!
I love that you did this! Plants make such a wonderful gift for many folks. For those without the interest, affinity, or time to attend to our rooting friends, the gift can be passed along, and (forgive me for saying this) if the plant “doesn’t make it,” the world doesn’t end. During the isolation of this past year, I found it particularly soothing to have my plants to care for and tend to. Gifties of flora always welcome here!
I just got one. It came in the mail, took longer than expected and arrived with some crispy leaves. I pulled off 2 of the leaves because they were black and crispy. There seems to be a few good leaves on it and some new growth. Is there anyway to save the rest? I am scared it may not make it.
New growth is a great sign! Don’t worry about a few bad leaves, those things are bound to happen during shipping. I think your plant will be just fine.
I’ve had mine for 2 years and it seems happy, but it tends to collect an orange fuzzy dust. Is this common? Also every once in a while I get a leaf that turns yellow (it’s happened maybe twice). Should I prune the plant at the base?
Hmm, I can’t think of what would cause the orange dust, but a quick wipe of a towel once in a while helps keep the leaves looking great. A yellow leaf every now and then is definitely normal, just trim off at the base.
Hi, I just found a variegated one at a local nursery and was sad to see it as a landscape plant. I was so happy to read that is can live indoors on here! Thank you for giving me hope.
Mine has never grown a new leaf, and several leaves have yellowed and I had to remove them, located near a east window but not in it, I water it weekly, dont know what the problem is??? I love the look of the leaves, any suggestions would be appreciated…..Allen.
Hmm, I think it is a combination of not enough light and probably over watering. I would let you plant wilt a slight bit between waterings. This will let you know that it is ready for another drink (it is likely that once a week may be too much).
Where can I find your honeycomb planter? Thanks
This was actually a planter that I made! 🙂
Do you know if you can water prop a cutting? My sister gave me a cut stem randomly expecting me to pop it into water like I do my begonias (she thought it was a begonia lol)
Great question! I’d stuck a leaf into an arrangement and I was SHOCKED to find that it rooted! That being said, I’ve tried a couple of times since then and haven’t had any luck… so… I would say it is worth a try.
What kind of light would an indoor leopard plant need?
I have mine in a window with southern exposure. The sunnier the better!
Hi thanks for the informative article. I wish to know what the Farfugium ‘bulb’ looks like. I have what looks like a bulb but it is shaped like a mini-croissant. Could it be a farfugium bulb?
I don’t think so. Farfugium would be considered more of a perennial in its growth so there isn’t a bulb at the base.
I was shocked to read that you recommend not over watering. I read that their natural habitat is along streams in Japan, and that if they receive good drainage, they should never be allowed to dry out. Hence I water my indoor Farfugium every day and even mist it, and it grows rapidly. I have a grow light on it in a southeast window, and the leaves are very glossy.
I purchased a lovely farfugium about 4-6 weeks ago. So excited when I spotted those large beautiful leaves. Assumed and wanted it to be a houseplant. The first week a leaf started with dried brown spots that spread until it fell off. The next week the same thing started on another leaf. After careful inspection, I found a stink bug living there.
Got him! Then another leaf..same thing. Sprayed with neem oil. Flower stem wilted. Watered well. Have lost 4 leaves. Only 3 to go and another looks likes it’s going. Help.
Yikes! It sounds like your plant is in rapid decline, so I would take some drastic steps here. My first step would be to take it out of its current pot and see if you can remove some old soil and add new. Once it is repotted water it very well (until water comes out of the drainage hole). Let it get very dry, even wilt, before watering again.
My plant has several leaves that have become dry and crispy around the edges. I try not to water too much and have waited for it to wilt a little between waterings. It’s receiving indirect filtered light near (but not directly in front of) an East window. Concerned about the drying leaf edges. Suggestions?
Hi Mike, Without seeing it my best guess is that this is a result of lower humidity in your home because of winter weather. The brown part of the leaves won’t recover, but as long as there is some green on the leaf it is making the plant stronger. I would try watering a little bit more to see if this can help prevent the issue in the future.
My farfugium has fuzz on the stems. You can run your fingers down the length of the stem and it wipes off, but what is it?
Totally normal! I just looked and my plant has it too. It is the natural pubescence (hairs) of the plant.