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Graham Rice's New Plants Blog

Graham Rice Garden writer and plantsman Northamptonshire and Pennsylvania

Editor-in-Chief of the RHS Encyclopedia of Perennials; writer for a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Garden and The Plantsman; member of the RHS Herbaceous Plant Committee and Floral Trials Committee; author of many books on plants and gardens.

  • Date Joined: 18 Oct 2006

Antirrhinum 'Eternal': New from Thompson & Morgan

Posted by Graham Rice on 16 Aug 2011 at 02:08 PM

Antirrhinum 'Eternal',variegated,snapdragon. Image ©GardenPhotos.com (all rights reserved)We've had variegated antirrhinums for years, although they were not always very stylish and some people took a dislike to them. Antirrhinum 'Eternal' is different, this new introduction is altogether more elegant.

Almost all those we’ve seen in the past have been raised from seed, had narrow margins and often slightly twisted foliage. Only the rather weak 'Taff's White', with white flowers and white edges to slightly greyish leaves, had more panache but it was never strong.

'Eternal', sometimes known rather mysteriously as 'Eternal Magenta (the flowers are not magenta at all) is definitely a cut above those seed raised types. Reaching about 12-14in/30-35cm in height and with rather an upright habit, the grey-green leaves are narrowly edged in cream. That margin is broad enough to be striking yet not so wide as to deprive the plant of so much chlorophyll that its growth is feeble.

The flower buds are almost white, with a little pale pink haze, they open to rosy pink with the lip slightly darker than the hood, and with an orange haze at the top of the lip. Then the whole flowers darkens as if matures. It should flower well into the autumn and, if kept in a sheltered place and the winter is not too ferocious, perform again next year.

Grow Antirrhinum 'Eternal' in containers, perhaps with the trailing bronze leaves of Ipomoea 'Blackie' or a sky blue trailing lobelia, ensure it does not dry out and feed it regularly in the same way you would feed other container plants.

You can order Antirrhinum 'Eternal' from Thompson & Morgan and look out for it at the RHS Plant Centre at Wisley.

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