Lion’s Ear

Lion's ear plant with orange flowers
Lion’s ear in a garden at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Plant City campus

Lion’s ear is a great but often underutilized perennial that produces clusters of fuzzy orange flowers beginning in late summer or early fall.


Lion’s ear (Leonotis leonurus) is a semi-woody perennial that belongs to the mint family and is native to southern Africa where it grows in rocky grasslands.

Gardeners love this plant for its brightly colored, tubular flowers that appear along the stems in late summer or early fall and attract honeybees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. In South Florida, lion’s ear will continue blooming throughout the winter months and into spring.

When grown under optimal conditions, lion’s ear can reach five feet tall and four feet wide.

Planting and Care

Lion’s ear can be grown in USDA plant hardiness zones 8-11. In zones 8 and 9 it may freeze to the ground in winter but will usually come back strong in the spring.

This drought-tolerant plant needs a well-drained soil, since overly wet soils can kill the plant. Lion’s ear prefers a location in full sun, though it will also grow in part shade.

Gardeners who enjoy passalong plants will also like lion’s ear, since cuttings can be used to start new plants. It occasionally reseeds although not aggressively.

For more information on lion’s ear, contact your county Extension office.