South African natives related to snapdragon (Antirrhinum), bearing spikelike clusters of blossoms at stem ends from spring through early summer and often into fall. They go dormant in hot summers. Flowers are coral to purplish pink, about in. across, with two prominent spurs on the back; these spurs produce oils attractive to pollinating bees. Leaves of most types are medium green, heart shaped, from in. to 1 in. long. Not browsed by deer.
Twinspurs are at their best in rock gardens, borders, and containers. With the exceptions noted, all of the species listed here are perennial, though these perennials may die in winter if planted in heavy, wet soil. Shear back after bloom.
D. barberae. Annual. Zones US, MS, LS, CS, TS; USDA 6-11. Mat-forming plant to 10 in. tall, 20 in. wide, with rose-pink blossoms. 'Blackthorn Apricot' bears apricot-colored flowers. 'Ruby Field', to 10 in. high and 2 ft. wide, bears salmon-pink blossoms and has a long bloom season. Selections in the Diamonte series are more compact and full-foliaged, grow about 12 in. high, and come in a range of colors.
D. fetcaniensis. Zones LS, CS; USDA 8-9. To 10 in. high and 20 in. wide, with rose-pink blooms.
D. hybrids. Zones LS, CS; USDA 8-9. More show up every year. Plants in the Flying Colors series have large flowers in shades of red, pink, apricot, and coral; most grow to 612 in. high (some grow upright, others are more trailing).
A group of newer hybrids from England (all to 710 in. high and 1 ft. wide) includes coral-pink 'Coral Belle'; 'Little Charmer', pink with dark red eye; soft pink 'Little Dancer'; rosy red 'Red Ace'; and deep pink 'Strawberry Sundae'.
Sundiascia series has shown more heat tolerance than any other series trialed. Upright growers to 15 in. tall and available in 'Blush Pink', 'Orange' and 'Rose Pink'.
Whisper series is a group of annual hybrids. These compact, heat-resistant plants grow 810 in. high, spreading to about 2 ft. wide, and bear long-blooming, pansylike flowers. Selections include 'Apricot', 'Cranberry Red', 'Lavender Pink', and 'Salmon Red'.
D. integerrima. Zones LS, CS; USDA 8-9. To 1 12 ft. tall, creeping to 34 ft. wide. Narrow leaves to 1 in. long; loose spikes of rich purplish pink flowers. 'Coral Canyon' grows 1215 in. high and 1 ft. wide, bears salmon-pink blooms.
D. rigescens. Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. Sprawling stems form a clump to 1 ft. tall, 2 ft. wide, turn up at ends to display 6- to 8-in. spikes of rich pink flowers. Cut out old stems.