Snapdragon Vine Plant Profile

Purple snapdragon blooms

Marie Iannotti

Although not related to the traditional garden snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus), the flowers of snapdragon vine do resemble those of that popular garden annual. That is the only thing predictable about the naming convention of this plant, however, since it goes by several additional common names: creeping snapdragon, vining snapdragon, trailing snapdragon. The Latin classification is equally confused. Although it is now usually classified as Maurandya scandens, snapdragon vine was previously known as Asarina scandens, and it has also been categorized as Maurandella antirrhiniflora and Asarina antirrhiniflora. In defiance of the changes in taxonomy, many sources continue to grow and sell them as Asarina.

Proving that everything old is new again, snapdragon vine 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 bright green arrowhead-shaped 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. Climbing snapdragon vine blooms in shades of pink, blue, lavender and white. The 1- to 2- inch flowers are trumpet-shaped with five lobes, drooping downward on the vines.

Botanical Name Maurandya scandens or Asrina scandens
Common Names Snapdragon vine, creeping snapdragon, trailing snapdragon, vining snapdragon
Plant Type Perennial vine, usually grown as an annual
Mature Size 6 to 9 feet long, 3- to 6-foot spread
Sun Exposure Full sun to part shade
Soil Type Rich, well-drained loam
Soil pH 6.0 to 7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral)
Bloom Time May to September
Flower Color Pink, blue, lavender and white
Hardiness Zones 9 to 10 (grown as an annual elsewhere)
Native Area Mexico

How to Grow Snapdragon Vine

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 to 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 two to three weeks. Snapdragon vine is a slow starter, but it eventually will 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.

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

Light

These plants thrive in full sun to part shade conditions. In hot climates, Asarina prefers partial shade during the afternoon.

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.

Water

This plant is somewhat drought tolerant but will grow best if it receives regular watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Snapdragon vine is hardy in zones 9 to 10 but grows well as an annual in other zones. Reliable self-seeding occurs only within its hardiness range.

Fertilizer

Feeding with a complete fertilizer or a side dressing of compost mid-season will give snapdragon vine a boost to keep blooming.

Propagating Snapdragon Vine

Snapdragon vine is usually grown from purchased seeds, and it also self-sows readily within its hardiness range. You can also take stem cuttings to start new plants. A 4- to 6-inch segment of stem will easily root in water, and can be planted in a pot once a network of roots develops.

Varieties of Snapdragon Vine

Generally you find commercially sold snapdragon vine seeds labeled simply as Asarina; however, they are coming out with more hybrid varieties especially as they become more available as nursery 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
  • 'Shooting Stars Blue': Flowers are an intense indigo blue

Landscape Uses

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.