Linaria reticulata
Common Name: purple-net toadflax
Type: Annual
Family: Plantaginaceae
Native Range: Northern Africa
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 0.75 to 4.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Purple-violet with yellow blotch on the palate
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Cool weather annual that is best grown in evenly moist, well-drained, humusy to sandy loams in full sun. Tolerates average soils as long as drainage is good. Part afternoon shade helps plants continue to flower as hot summer weather begins. In St. Louis, it is best to start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date, because the best bloom is in the cool days of spring to early summer. Unlike its more common relative, L. maroccana, this species is somewhat uncommon in commerce and is unlikely to be found in cell/six packs at nurseries. Cut back after initial flowering to encourage additional bloom. Like pansies, these plants begin to fade with the onset of hot and humid summer weather and are perhaps best removed at that time in favor of warm weather annuals. Seed may be sown in late summer for a fall bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Linaria reticulata, commonly called purple-net toadflax, is native to North Africa. It is an upright annual that grows to 4’ tall. Features long-spurred, two-lipped, miniature snapdragon-like flowers in upright-terminal racemes. Flowers bloom spring to fall in cool summer climates, but usually stop blooming in the heat of summer in hot climates. Netted-veined species flowers are purple-violet with a yellow blotch on the palate. Narrow linear green leaves (to 1.5” long) are whorled at the base and alternate above.

Genus name comes from the medieval name from the Greek word linon and the Latin word linum in allusion to the flax like leaves of L. vulgaris.

Specific epithet means netted for the netted veins in the flowers.

In commerce, this species is most frequently represented by two cultivars: ‘Crown Jewels’, a dwarf mixture of red, maroon, yellow and orange bicolors (to 9” tall) and ‘Aureo-purpurea’, a deeper purple version of the species.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids.

Garden Uses

Mass in beds, borders, meadows or cottage gardens. Dwarf strains are effective in rock gardens, containers, baskets and window boxes.