Asarina is a half hardy perennial, however it is normally treated as an half hardy annual by gardeners in cooler climates. Most of the members of Asarina have been recently reclassified. However as gardeners used both the new and old names, the information in this page holds true for the species described.
Depending on the species it may flower anytime from late spring to late autumn.
Asarina erubescens by Philip Bouchard.
Some of the common names for Asarina include Chickabiddy, Creeping Gloxina, Climbing Snapdragon and Mexican twist.
The genus Asarina is synonymous with Maurandya.
Asarina are climbing vines that usually have pink trumpet like flowers. The heart shaped leaves are often scented.
Asarina procumbens by Tim Waters.
There are sixteen members of the Asarina genus and they are native to Central and Northern America and to the South of Europe.
Asarina used to be a genus of the Scrophulariaceae family (figworts), however they have recently been reclassified - and now the family only contains 5 genera. During this reclassification most of the Asarina members have become classed in different genera:
Asarina erubescens: common names Creeping Gloxina; Mexican Twist; now Lophospermum erubescens
Asarina petrophila: common name Rocklady; now Holmgrenanthe petrophila
Asarina wislizeni: common name Balloonbush; Creeping Snapdragon; now Epixiphium wislizeni
Asarina acerifolia: common name Brittlestem; now Mabrya acerifolia
Asarina filipe: common name Yellow Twining Snapdragon; Now Neogaerrhinum filipes
Other commonly grown plants include:
Asarina purpusii: Victoria Falls
Asarina barclaiana: Twinning Snapdragon
Asarina procumbens: Creeping Snapdragon
Asarina scandens: Chickabiddy; Climbing Snapdragon
Common Names: Chickabiddy, Creeping Gloxina, Climbing Snapdragon, Mexican Twist.
Family: Plantaginaceae / Scrophulariaceae.
Life Cycle: Half hardy perennial, often grown as a half hardy annual.
Height: Large range in size from as little as 6 Inches (15 cm) up to 16 feet (500 cm) for climbing species.
Native: Central and Northern America, Southern Europe.
Growing Region: Zones 3 to 10. As a perennial in zones 9 and 10.
Flowers: Species dependent: late spring; summer; autumn.
Flower Details: Usually pink, though yellow and lilac varieties are available. Trumpets.
Foliage: Cordate. Deltoid. Toothed. Hairy.
Sow Outside: Soil surface. Late winter or early spring. Spacing 12 Inches (30 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: two to three weeks. Temperature 60 to 70°F (15 to 21°C). Start three months in advance. Transplant out in early spring.
Requirements: Full sunlight. Good drainage. Soil pH 6 to 7. Rich soil. Moist soil. Provide trellis. Propagate: cuttings in the spring.
When planting Asarina outdoors it is best to sow the seeds on the surface from late in the winter until the early spring.
If preparing Asarina for later transplanting as seedlings, it is best to sow the seeds indoors in peat pots three to four months before they are due to be transplanted outdoors in the early spring when the temperature will not drop below 5 degrees Celsius (41F).
Seedlings should be planted at a spacing of 30 cm into a sunny area of the garden; ideally with fertile soil, that is moist but well drained, and with a pH of 6 to 7.
Asarina is fairly easy to look after; as they are climbing plants they should have a trellis support to grow upon. Asarina should be well watered and fed on occasion. If you require more plants then cuttings can be taken during the summer.
Asarina (Lophospermum) erubescens (Creeping Gloxina; Mexican Twist)
As a tender perennial this species is usually grown as an annual in gardens. Asarina erubescens are climbers that range in height from as little as six feet (1.8 M) to as much as 16 feet (5 M). They make very interesting plants to grow either on a trellis or hanging from a basket in an area of the garden that has full sunlight.
Seeds can be planted outside in mid winter, or you may prefer to start them off indoors, in which case start off in early winter; about 12 weeks in advance of transplanting outside in early spring. It is best to sow the seeds in peat pots so as to cause little disturbance when transplanting.
Plants should flower from early summer through to mid autumn and the colour of the bloom is down to the variety that you sell; often with pink trumpet sweet pea like flowers, though petals may also be lavender or white. In the USA plants are able to grow in zones 5 through 11, and grows natively in Hawaii and Porto Rico.
Once growing it is pretty easy to care for Creeping Gloxina; water plants regularly but not excessively, if you require more plants then either propagate by taking softwood cuttings, or collect seed pods once they have dried.
Asarina procumbens (Chickabiddy; Creeping Snapdragon)
These perennials are usually treated as annuals by gardeners, though they have been known to be fairly frost tolerant. Asarina procumbens carry pale yellow scented flowers that are able to bloom from spring through Autumn. Although the plant is generally low growing (1 foot; 30 cm) it is able to creep over fairly large distances.
Plants perform best in full sunlight, but are able to grow fairly well in partially shaded conditions. Ideally soil should be sandy and well drained. It makes an ideal plant for rock gardens, hanging baskets, or for trailing over a wall. Asarina scandens is also known as Chickabiddy.