PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Toadflax (Linaria spp.)

Besides having a fun name, the Toadflaxes are a huge genus of plants with species ranging from Morocco to Europe and China. Over the centuries it has found its way from these home bases and naturalized all over the globe. They can be small, low, tufted mounds of succulent foliage that love dry open spaces or tucked into a rockery, or 2-3 foot tall colonies of slender stems in pastures and roadsides.

We love them for their adorable little flowers that look like a combination of a snapdragon, orchid, and columbine. Hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies love them for the tubular spurs at the back of the flowers which contain nectar. The blooms keep coming non-stop from late spring through summer and into autumn. Depending on the species, colors can be purple, pink, yellow, blue, and burgundy, and in some types you get all of that.

Our favorite is Roadside Toadflax ‘Neon Lights’. Only 6 inches tall with multi-colored two-toned blooms. Alpine Toadflax is a wee cutie with purple blooms for tucking into rockeries or at the edges of paths or gardens. Common Toadflax is tall and elegant to 2-3 feet with pink or light purple blooms that sway in summer breezes atop delicate leafy stems.
All Linarias are self seeders so be prepared for them to find their way around your garden. We like to let them go do their thing and just pull the ones that get too far afield.