Spurred Snapdragon; aka,
Baby Snapdragon, or,
Moroccan Dwarf Toadflax
By her measured breaths: "I like to see," said she,
"The snap-dragon put out his tongue at me."
Some Linaria maroccana grow to twenty inches height or higher, & the usual color is purple, but what grows on our roadside are the hybridized dwarfs marketed variously "Fairy Lights," "Fairy Bouquet," "Dwarf Fairy," or "Fantasy Mix," which come in various bicolors of purple, pink, red, yellow, orange, & white.
These are usually about a foot tall or less. The first May photo above shows a pink linara in the front, with purple & yellow ones in the background. The tiny white flowers are Alyssums.
To be so small, the blooms are quite dramatic in spring. Moderately drought hardy for spring, so long as there are least occasional showers, when the true heat bares down at high summer they may disappear without some slight irrigation, in which case they will rebloom right up to the first sign of winter.
It self-seeds willfully & has proven a little invasive in some areas of California, but has also gotten loose in New England & the Virginias, so potentially they could naturalize in Puget Sound gardens.
But it is by no means the same sort of weedy invader that is its relative "Butter & Eggs" (Linaria vulgaris) & in general Spurred Snapdragon does not like even moderately cold winters. They cannot germinate in spring if average temperatures are no higher than in the fifties.
This hardy annual is good for the butterfly garden, may also attract hummingbirds, & for cuttings in small bouquets. Full sun to light shade suits them, & they enjoy anything from light dry soil to rich moist well draining soil.
Surface sewing is sufficient. Sew them in spring after threat of frost, or in autumn in more southerly climates where there is no threat of winter frosts. Cover them lightly with a sprinkling of humus & tamp the soil sturdy, in the main to keep the seeds from being eaten. The seeds require no special care to provide lively inexpensive fill-in annuals or roadside meadowflowers, though if one does bother to start them in trays more of the seeds will germinate & the spring flowers will be larger. After the first flush of flowers is spent, sheering them by two-thirds to induce rebloom.
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