Horminum pyrenaicum alboviolaceus
Spires of dragons wearing violet lipstick
Spires of closely packed white flowers with violet lips, do indeed look like mini towers of tiny dragons. Kids love looking down the throat of the dragons to see their pretty lips and throats. In fact their lips and throats are marked out to guide the bees into Horminum pyrenaicum alboviolaceus Dragon Mouth (phew what a dragon’s mouthful), but let’s not spoil the fun.
A steady succession of dragon spires bloom over spring and summer, with a repat in autumn.
Useful evergreen foliage rosette
The foliage is on decorative duty all year round, all quilted and puckered, and arranged in very pretty rosettes of deep green leaves.
So even after the long flowering season is over, they are still worth their little corner of the garden.
Unusual but not hard to grow
Gardeners who live with frost are secure with Dragon Mouth, as it is frost hardy to well below -10C.
Plant in Full Sun in cooler districts, but will appreciate some Dappled Sun and Shade, or Afternoon Shade in hot districts.
Perfectly happy in normal, average garden soil as well as a wide range of soil types.
However well drained is essential. Because the dragons will desert you if they are waterlogged for too long.
Tolerant of a wide range of soil pH from alkaline to acid. Though Dragon Mouth loves lime, and will perform even better if given a handful of lime in spring and autumn (unless you already garden on limestone).
Where to use in the garden
My answer is anywhere you can jam one in, because they are so pretty.
But traditionally they are used for garden edges, narrow beds, rockeries, or decorative containers.
Because each plant makes an evergreen clump to approximately 20cm. wide, you can plant multiples if you wish to make a groundcover or an edge.
– Height with flowers: Spires of flowers to 25cm. approx
– Width: Evergreen clump to approximately 20cm. But you can plant multiples if you wish to make a groundcover or an edge.
– Position: Full Sun in cooler districts, but will appreciate some Dappled Sun and Shade, or Afternoon Shade in hot districts.
– Soil: Perfectly happy in normal, average garden soil, though it will tolerate soil pH on either the acid or alkaline lime side of neutral. Loves lime, and will perform even better if given a handful of lime in spring and autumn (unless you already garden on limestone). Must be well drained, dislikes being waterlogged.
– Fragrance: Sadly none.
– Frost: Very frost hardy to well below -10C.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial rosette.
– Beneficial for wildlife: The spires of tiny trumpet flowers are much used by bees, nectar sipping birds, and butterflies. Bees are particularly attracted to flowers displaying deep rich blue as they can see that wavelength of colour very well, and they know they are rich in pollen.
– Care: Easy and low maintenance if it is in a suitable position.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant:
– Origin: Native to limestone slopes along the border between Spain and southern France; and from Northern Italy and into Austria, where it grows on rocky slopes and in close companionship with other grassland plants.