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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
Asarina scandens 'Joan Lorraine'
syn. Maurandya scandens, Lophospermum scandens
Pronounced: ah-SAH-rih-na SKAN-denz
Sunset zones: 17-24 as perennials, 1-16 as annual.
USDA zones: 9-10.
Heat zones: 12-10.
Height: 4-8 feet tall (1.8-2.4 m).
Late spring through summer if sown early enough.
Tubular, snapdragon-like, dark purple flowers, with white throats.
Alternate, heart to arrow-shaped, bright green leaves.
Tops in full sun, feet in shade.
Fertile, humus rich, well-drained soil.
Fertilize once a month with a complete organic fertilizer, throughout the growing season.
Sow seed in February for flowers the first year and keep seed pots at 55-64°F (13-18°C). Germination in three weeks. | Root softwood cuttings in late spring and non flowering shoots in late summer.
Rainy Side Notes
Asarina 'Joan Lorraine', with its foxglove-like flower, originates from Mexico. Raising the plant from seed is not too difficult for a seasoned gardener; many treat the vine as an annual, then discard it at the end of the season. However, my vines have successfully wintered over in pots up against the house, protected by a covered deck, for the last two winters. We have yet to see if they will be protected enough to survive the arctic blast or two we typically receive during a decade. I take cuttings of the plants so I can afford to gamble. If you decide to grow them in the garden, you will need to dig them up before winter and put them indoors. An unheated garage with a bright window provides enough protection for them, if temperatures inside the building stay above freezing. When wintering over plants in cool conditions, such as provided by a garage, water only enough to keep the soil from completely drying out.
In warmer climates, the species can climb to 9 feet tall, but in our temperate climate, it reaches only 6 feet. Asarina climbs by twisting stems around slender objects. Use it as a climber, or use it as a trailer in hanging baskets and containers.
Asarina is Latin for resembling Asarum, or a Spanish vernacular name for the plant it resembles--Antirrhinum. The genus has had a few name changes; one recent change has yet to be recognized consistently around horticultural circles. New Ornamental Society isn't quite ready to take the name change leap, "The RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) now place A. erubescens and A. scandens under the genus Lophospermum. In this instance we believe it prudent to let the botanical dust clear some more before attempting to apply the clear identities of wild plants to our much hybridized and very different garden populations."
Photographed in author's garden.