Plant of the Month: February 2014
by Jenny Wegley
Angelica keiskei koidzumi
AT A GLANCE
Latin name: Angelica keiskei koidzumi
Common name: Tomorrow’s leaf
Flowers: Large baby’s-breath-type stalk and flowers
Mature size: 6’ tall by 4’ wide
Hardiness: Perennial herb
Water usage: Medium to low
There are times that a plant will “take your breath away.” Angelica keiskei koidzumi does just that with its amazing size and vigor. It is not a new introduction, but it is new to the Dallas Arboretum Plant Trials Program. When I first planted a small rooted cutting in early spring two years ago, I was expecting very little from it. Given its large glossy leaves, I envisioned burnt toast in the summer, but I planted it anyway. The first year was not impressive; the plant put on a little growth in the spring and then went summer-dormant. That winter some growth occurred, but the plant was still lacking.
Year Two is when things got interesting. As the temperatures began to decrease, Angelica started to kick in and grow, not just a little, but like a weed on heavy-duty steroids. Hence the common name, “tomorrow’s leaf”: remove a leaf today and it will be replaced with a mature leaf the next. Over the course of the following months, this perennial herb reached 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide. Talk about making a statement in a perennial shade bed, here you go! Stalks of creamy-white baby’s-breath-type flower clusters form May to mid-summer. After the plant flowers, dormancy sets in and tomorrow’s leaf takes a hiatus for a few weeks until temperatures start to cool off. The large, glossy, lobed leaves are my favorite attribute of this plant. With its sheer size, Angelica reminds me of the movie “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”
Angelica is a Japanese herb that is used for a multitude of medicinal remedies including eczema and psoriasis. It also is used for disorders of the gastrointestinal system, hepatitis, cancer, anemia, and chronic fatigue. All in all, Angelica keiskei koidzumi is an awesome plant that adds an enormous layer to your garden. Plant it in full shade in the landscape or in a container. Be patient, and you’ll reap the rewards starting in Year Two! Average water is required. You’ll find the plant through online sources.
Have fun and garden strong!