This delightful little twining climber is properly called Maurandella antirrhiniflora but fortunately its common names are the much easier Climbing Antirrhinum, Twining Snapdragon or, in the States, Roving Sailor. It is very easy from seed and produces hundreds of plants from an early sowing in a 3″ pot. I give lots away to people who probably don’t want them but are just being nice. However, they tend to come back for more the following year if they haven’t saved their own seed.
The flowers are a delicious almost luminous dark violet with a white throat and shaped, as you would expect, just like an antirrhinum. It needs to climb and twist around something but the vines are so small and delicate that it works well planted with something tall like Agastache foeniculum which is strong and upright and a complementary colour. It can reach 2m high if you wish but I find 1.2m about right. When it reaches the top of the plant or the support it just falls backwards and continues to flower on the way down.
It produces a lot of seed at the end of the season which keeps well in the fridge for the following year. I would heartily recommend it as an extra which ‘peps up’ a container display or an otherwise boring tallish plant which might be past its best by July when Maurandella comes into its own for a couple of months.
I have a feeling it might be related to the climbing foxglove, Lophospermum erubescens which I also grow and which I wrote about last year. They both seem to have the alternative genus of Asarina and both originate from the southern United States and Mexico. However, the Lophospermum overwintered as a dormant tuber in the cold greenhouse which I don’t think the Maurandella would. There are also red, white, pink and orange varieties to brighten up your patio or conservatory. Really worthwhile trying…if you like that sort of thing!