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Asarina - Climbing Snapdragon Vines

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Growing Climbing Snapdragon Vine

The trumpet flowers of Asarina as popular with hummingbirds and butterflies as they are with gardeners.

Photo: © Marie Iannotti

Overview and Description:

Proving that everything old is new again, Asirina is making a grand comeback from near obscurity. Trumpet shaped flowers always seem to add an old fashioned charm and Asarina adds delicate vines and leaves to create a totally beguiling vine. It looks almost too fragile to hold on, but have no fear, this vine is a survivor. And its trumpet blooms are hummingbird favorites.

Asarina scandens have actually been reclassified as Maurandya scandens, but gardeners have lost patience with taxonomists and continue to grow and sell them as Asarina.

  • Flowers: The 1 - 2 inch flowers are trumpet-shaped with 5 lobes. They droop downward on the vines, giving the effect of flowing. Climbing snapdragon blooms in shades of pink, blue, lavender and white.

  • Leaves: Bright green pointed heart or arrow head-shaped leaves.

Botanical Name:

Asarina scandens (Pronounced ah-SAr-ree-nah SKAN-denz) Syn. Maurandya scandens and Lophospermum scandens

(Maurandella antirrhiniflora (Syn. Asarina antirrhiniflora )are also called by many of the following common names and is a very similar, although shorter, vine.)

Common Names:

Climbing Snapdragon, Creeping Snapdragon, Twining Snapdragon, Figwort, Creeping snapdragon

Hardiness Zones:

USDA Hardiness Zones 9 and higher. Asarina is usually grown as an annual and is frost tender, but it will self-sow.

Sun Exposure

Full sun to partial shade. Asarina prefers partial shade during the afternoon, in hot climates.

Mature Size:

6 - 8' (h) x 24 - 48" (w)

Bloom Period

Repeat blooms May through Fall.

Suggested Varieties:

Generally you will simply find seed labeled as Asarina, however they are coming out with more hybrids. Some currently available are:
  • 'Joan Lorraine' - Most commonly sold variety. A rich, purple-blue.
  • 'Satin Mix' - A blend of several colors
  • 'Sky Blue' - Deep purple-blue
  • 'Snow White' - Very nearly white
  • 'Red Dragon' - Rich pink-red

Design Suggestons:

This is a very versatile vine. You can use it in hanging baskets, it will grow up almost anything and it also sprawls and makes an attractive ground cover. It's often billed as a good choice for small gardens because of its dainty foliage, but this feature also allows it to work well in a border, without taking over.

The colors currently available lean toward to the cool side and pair well with silver or gray-leaved plants like Artemisia, Russian sage and lavender.

Growing Tips:

Soil: Asarian is fairly indifferent about soil pH and has even been known to thrive in poor soil. But providing a good amount of organic matter at planting will help send it climbing earlier. It also needs well-draining soil and will rot if the soil remains wet.

Planting: You won't often find Asarina plants for sale, probably because the delicate vines quickly become a tangled mess in pots. However they grow easily from seed and you have the advantage of choosing the color you prefer. Start seed indoors, 10 - 12 weeks before planting outside. In areas with a long season, you can direct seed once the ground has warmed. (Once the weeds start sprouting, it's warm enough to plant.)

Asarina does not like having its roots disturbed, so starting seed in peat or paper pots is recommended. Individual pots will also cut down on tangled vines. Plant the seeds so they are just barely covered with soil. They should germinate within 2 - 3 weeks. They are slow starters, but they will eventually take off. It helps to provide some type of support in the pots, if the vines start growing before you can get them into the ground.

You can also take stem cuttings and start new plants. You can even over-winter potted plants indoors. They won't bloom as profusely, but they make nice hanging baskets.

Maintenance:

Climbing snapdragon will require some type of structure, if you want it to climb. The thin vines twin best on thin supports. They can't seem to grab hold of anything thicker than about 1 inch in diameter.

Asarina won't require much additional care. Mulching the roots will help retain water during hot spells. And a feeding with a complete fertilizer or a side dressing of compost mid-season will give it a boost to keep blooming.

Pests & Problems:

Climbing snapdragon is virtually pest free. With sunshine, regular water and well-draining soil, it should grow and bloom throughout the season.

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