Toadflax Moroccan (Linaria maroccana) resembles a miniature snapdragon, its flowers are much smaller. It is light and graceful, like our common toadflax, but it has bright colors, like a snapdragon. It is one of the longest flowering annuals.
As the name suggests, the Moroccan flax comes from the Mediterranean region and was first described in 1862 from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. In nature, the plant gravitates to places of human activity, it is found on disturbed lands, along roads, along the edges of fields, around gardens and settlements.
It is an annual herb with erect slender branchy stems, 25-45 (rarely up to 55) cm tall. Stems are covered with simple linear leaves 20-40 mm long, which are located on the stem with whorls, sessile, gray-green. For their resemblance to flax leaves, this genus of plants (Linaria) and got its Latin name "flax-like", from the Greek linon - linen. Flowers are located in apical glandular loose racemes, consisting of 10 or more flowers. The flowers consist of a calyx 3-6 mm long, with five narrow, pointed lobes, and an irregular corolla 2-3.8 cm long, two-lipped, with a nectar spur. Most often they are purple in color, with a white or yellow spot near the neck. But cultural forms can have a wide variety of colors - white, yellow, orange, lilac, pink, red, usually with a contrasting spot at the base of the lower lip and four stamens. Flowering lasts from mid-June to September, sometimes with a break during dry periods. The flowers are fragrant and attract butterflies and other pollinators.
The fruit is a dry ellipsoidal obtuse capsule 3-5 mm long, disintegrating when ripe. Seeds are dark gray or black, 0.6-0.8 mm long and 0.4-0.5 mm wide, round-triangular to reniform, with a ribbed matte surface. They remain viable for a long time - up to 6 years.
- Fairy bouquet - the most famous variety series. Plants are compact, 20-25 cm tall, with flowers of various colors, from pastel to bright colors - pink, orange, yellow, lavender and white.
- Kaleidoscope - the most accessible and the most complete mixture of colors. Blooms within 2 months after sowing. Forms compact bushes up to 35 cm tall, completely covered with graceful clusters of inflorescences.
- Fantasy - up to 40 cm tall, forms compact bushes. The flowers are blue, lilac, white, yellow, with a white and yellow center.
Growing toadflax Moroccan
Toadflax Moroccan is an unpretentious plant. It is fast-growing and blooms earlier than many annuals. Plants are weather-tolerant, easy to rise after wind or rain.
Sowing seeds... Toadflax can be grown both through seedlings and by direct sowing into the ground, although it blooms later.
For seedlings, seeds are sown in April on the surface of the soil, without covering, but only pressing them to the ground. Germinate under a film or glass at a temperature of + 18 ... + 20оС. Seedlings appear within 8-10 days. Seedlings are kept at + 15оС. Flowering occurs 10 weeks after sowing. Seedlings are planted at a distance of 15-20 cm at the end of May. The plant is cold-resistant and can withstand frost, although it is still better in case of frost to cover the plantings with non-woven covering material.
Toadflax seeds germinate at temperatures above +10 degrees, so sowing in open ground is possible only with the end of frost, in the last decade of May. Given the rapid development of plants, open field sowing can be carried out repeatedly until the end of June for late flowering, which will begin at the end of August.
Pick-up location... Toadflax loves the sun, so you can choose sunny areas for it. But it is good if a small shadow covers it in the afternoon so that the plant does not stop flowering during hot periods of summer.
The soil... The soil for Moroccan linaria needs well-drained, light, humus-rich, with sufficient moisture. But it grows well on sandy loams, it is sufficiently drought-resistant. Acidity - from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.1-7.8). Acidic soils are prepared for planting toadflax in advance by adding dolomite flour and wood ash for deoxidation.
Watering carried out so that the soil dries out a little between irrigations. If the soil has dried up to a depth of 5-10 cm, it's time to water. Young plants after planting seedlings are watered daily, well-developed plants - every 2-3 days.
Top dressing... When preparing the soil, a balanced fertilizer is applied with an equal content of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Then they are monthly fed with a solution of a complex mineral fertilizer with a predominance of phosphorus and equal shares of nitrogen and potassium.
Pruning... In mid-summer, flowering is often interrupted by heat. To cause a second wave of budding, the faded inflorescences are removed by cutting off the stems by 2/3.
Use in garden design
Like any annual, Moroccan toadflax is used for flower beds and flower beds. Good neighbors for her will be nemesia, pansies. Given the low habitus of the plant, it is often planted in curbs to frame paths. Dwarf varieties are effective on slides and other rocky gardens, suitable for growing in a variety of containers, hanging baskets, balcony boxes.
This plant looks exceptionally organic in cottage gardens, butterfly gardens. It is often included in lawn flower blends.
Fragrant flowers, like snapdragons, are placed in bouquets. The cut stands in the water for a long time, if it was collected at the beginning of the dissolution of the lower flowers in the inflorescence.