How to Grow Asarina - Climbing Snapdragon Vines

Purple snapdragon blooms

Marie Iannotti

Gardeners are always looking for great vines to add height to the flower garden. Easy to grow Asarina, the climbing snapdragon vine, offers profuse flowering throughout the summer.

Proving that everything old is new again, Asarina 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.

  • 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 vine blooms in shades of pink, blue, lavender and white.
  • Leaves: Bright green pointed heart or arrowhead-shaped leaves.

Other Names

The Climbing Snapdragon is popularly known as the Snapdragon Vine, Creeping Snapdragon, Twining Snapdragon, or Figwort and Latin names include the older classification, Asarina scandens (Pronounced ah-SAr-ree-nah SKAN-denz) Syn. Maurandya scandens and Lophospermum scandens, and the newer Maurandella antirrhiniflora (Syn. Asarina antirrhiniflora). In defiance of the changes in taxonomy, gardeners continue to grow and sell them as Asarina.

Ideal Conditions

USDA Hardiness Zones 9 and higher. Asarina is usually grown as an annual and is frost tender, but it can self-sow. These plants thrive in full sun to partial shade, where they can grow up to 6 - 8 ft. (h) x 24 - 48 inches (w). In hot climates, Asarina prefers partial shade during the afternoon.

Growing Tips

Soil

Snapdragon vine is fairly indifferent about soil pH and has even been known to thrive in poor soil. However, providing a good amount of organic matter at planting will help send it climbing faster. 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 twine 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.

Use in Garden Design

This is a very versatile vine featuring repeat blooms from May through the fall. 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 the cool side and pair well with silver or gray-leaved plants like Artemisia, Russian sage and lavender.

Pests & Problems

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

Suggested Varieties

Generally you will simply find seed labeled as Asarina; however, they are coming out with more hybrid varieties especially as seedlings. Some currently available include:

  • 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