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How to Grow Alonsoa Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Mask flower

The common name for the half hardy perennial Alonsoa is Mask flower.

It typically flowers from early summer to late september.

Alonsoa
Alonsoa meridonalis 'Apricot' photograph by Anniesannuals.

Description of Alonsoa

Alonsoa typically grow to be between 30 and 90 cm in height (one to three feet).

Mask flowers have pink, white or red petals with yellow stamens. They are normally grown as border plants or on a cutting bed.

Plants belong to the Scrophulariaceae family, and are thus closely related to the Figworts.

Alonsoa Plant Species

Alonsoa meridionalis: Mask Flower, South American Snapdragon

Alonsoa meridionalis is a perennial that grows up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall. The Mask Flower plant features lance-shaped leaves and bright red or orange flowers.

This plant loves full sun and well-drained soil. It's ideal for beds, borders, and containers, or as a cut flower.

Alonsoa warszewiczii: Mask Flower, Peruvian Snapdragon

Alonsoa warszewiczii is a perennial. Peruvian Snapdragon reaches a height of 3 feet (91 cm). Plants have lance-shaped leaves and scarlet flowers.

They prefer a location with full sun and well-drained soil. It is perfect for mixed borders, containers, or as a cut flower.

Alonsoa linearis: Narrowleaf Mask Flower

Alonsoa linearis is a perennial plant that grows up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall. Narrowleaf Mask Flower features linear leaves and clusters of bright red flowers.

It loves full sun and well-drained soil. This plant is ideal for mixed borders, containers, or for use as a cut flower.

Alonsoa acutifolia: Sharp-leaved Mask Flower

Alonsoa acutifolia is a perennial plant that reaches about 3 feet 4 inches (1 meter) in height. Sharp-leaved Mask Flower bears lanceolate leaves and clusters of vibrant red flowers.

It thrives in full sun and well-drained soil. It makes a great addition to mixed borders, containers, or as a cut flower.

How to Grow Mask flower

It is best to sow Mask flowers just below the soil surface, with a spacing of 25 to 30 cm after the last frost of spring.

Alonsoa prefers to be grown in full sunlight. The soil should be well drained, light and fertile.

Alonsoa requires between 14 days and 21 days to germinate.

If initiating growth indoors, it is best to sow them seven weeks before the last frost of spring.

Caring for Alonsoa in the garden

Alonsoa require to be staked if they become tall, ideally they should have their meristems pinched back when they reach 75 cm tall, this will promote bushy growth.

They are a good plant to use to attract ladybirds to your garden as they are prone to aphid attacks.

Quick Alonsoa Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Alonsoa
  • Common Names: Mask Flower, Flamingo Flower.
  • Growing Zone (USA / UK Hardiness): USDA Zones: 8-11. RHS Hardiness Rating: H2 (Tender - warm temperate).
  • Best Used For / Garden Location: Ideal for mixed borders, cottage gardens, or container gardening, preferably in a sunny location.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Perennial or Annual / Herbaceous.
  • Plant Height: 1-3 feet (0.3-0.9 meters).
  • Plant Spread: 1-2 feet (0.3-0.6 meters).
  • Blooms: Summer through Fall.
  • Flower Details: Bright orange-red or scarlet flowers that are small and tubular.
  • Leaf Foliage: Green, lance-shaped leaves.
  • Fruit: Small, inconspicuous capsule containing several seeds.
  • Best Light Conditions: Full sun.
  • Suitable Soil Types: Well-drained, fertile soil, with a neutral to slightly acidic pH.
  • Sowing, planting: Sow seeds indoors in late winter or early spring, transplanting outside after last frost.
  • Germination time: 1-2 weeks at 68°F (20°C).
  • Propagation: By seeds or stem cuttings in late spring or summer.
  • Plant Care: Water regularly, but do not allow the soil to become waterlogged. Deadhead to promote continuous flowering.
  • Growing in pots and containers: Suitable for container growing. Use well-drained soil and ensure the pot has good drainage.
  • Growing as an House plant: Can be grown indoors in a sunny location. Keep the soil evenly moist and provide good air circulation.
  • Miscellaneous: Attracts bees and butterflies. Avoid planting in areas prone to slug and snail infestations as they are attracted to this plant.
  • Pests and diseases: Prone to aphids, slugs, and snails.
  • Common Garden Species / Cultivars / Varieties: Alonsoa meridionalis 'Red', known for its striking red flowers. Alonsoa warscewiczii features pink or coral flowers.
  • Family: Scrophulariaceae, the Figwort family.
  • Native: Central and South America.
  • References and Further Reading: Missouri Botanical Garden: Plant Finder - Alonsoa.

Common Questions

How many members does the Alonsoa genus have?

The Alonsoa genus contains about 12 species of flowering plants.

Do members of Alonsoa make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Alonsoa, often called mask flower, is a popular bedding plant due to its continuous blooming nature and bright, mask-like flowers.

Which Alonsoa species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Alonsoa meridionalis, also known as scarlet alonsoa, due to its striking red flowers.

Are members of the Alonsoa plant genus fragrant?

Alonsoa plants are not typically known for a strong fragrance, they are primarily grown for their visual appeal.

What is the perfect location to grow Alonsoa?

Alonsoa prefers full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. It's a great choice for borders, containers, or as a bedding plant.

Is Alonsoa invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Alonsoa is not presently classified as being an invasive species in the USA.

How do I remove Alonsoa plants from my garden?

To remove Alonsoa plants, dig up the entire plant, ensuring all roots are removed to prevent regrowth, and dispose of responsibly.

Summary

The Alonsoa genus, part of the Scrophulariaceae family, contains around 12 species of annuals and perennials. One commonly grown species is Alonsoa meridionalis, also known as Mask Flower. Native to South America, these plants are known for their bright, mask-like flowers in red, pink, or white.

Alonsoa plants thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. They are often grown as bedding plants or in containers, where their vibrant blooms can be displayed to full effect. Deadheading spent flowers can help to encourage a longer blooming season, providing a splash of color throughout the summer.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on Alonsoa. You may also enjoy the following garden growing guides: How to grow Nemesia and Verbascum plants.