Don’t let the “toad” part of Moroccan toadflax put you off—these charming little annual flowers are also known as baby snapdragons, which gives you a good idea of their flower form and bright colors.
Moroccan toadflax sends up many slender flowering stems from a base of narrow, grasslike foliage. Stems are loaded with petite, pouchy-lipped flowers in a range of bright colors—yellow, pink, red, purple and white—often with a contrasting central spot. Like pansies and California poppies, Moroccan toadflax thrives in cool spring temperatures, then fades out when summer heat arrives.
Common name: Moroccan toadflax
Botanical name: Linaria maroccana
Plant type: Annual flower
Height: 12 to 18 inches
• Sun: Full sun
• Soil: Tolerates most soil types if fairly well drained
• Moisture: Slightly dry to moderately moist
• Mulch: None
• Pruning: None
• Fertilizer: None
Pests and diseases
• No serious problems
• ‘Fairy Bouquet’ is an heirloom variety that blooms in a wide range of bright colors; it received an All-America Selections award in 1934.
• ‘Northern Lights’ has a mix of colors and is slightly taller than ‘Fairy Bouquet’.
• Fantasy Series types produce dwarf plants loaded with flowers. Available in single colors or mixes.
• Start the tiny seeds of Moroccan toadflax early indoors, then harden off seedlings and plant them outdoors while conditions are still cool.
• Moroccan toadflax reseeds in favorable sites, so it’s perfect for meadows or casual cottage gardens.
• In warm regions, sow seeds directly outdoors in late winter.
All in the family
• Moroccan toadflax was previously included in the figwort family (Scrophulariaceae) but has now been placed in the plantain family (Plantaginaceae).
• The plantain family is named for the plantains (Plantago spp.) that are common weeds, not the banana-like tropical plantains (Musa spp.)
• As you might guess from its alternate common name of baby snapdragon, Moroccan toadflax is closely related to snapdragon (Antirrhinum).
Where to buy
• American Meadows, www.americanmeadows.com
• J.L. Hudson Seedsman, www.jlhudsonseeds.net
• Select Seeds, www.selectseeds.com
• Stokes Seeds, www.stokeseeds.com