Enjoy DREW'S FOLLY hardy snapdragon year-round Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, June 09, 2021 03:00 AM

The origins of Antirrhinum sempervirens ‘P020S’ (DREW’S FOLLY™ Hardy Snapdragon) are the Wild Spanish snapdragons (Antirrhinum sempervirens) that grow in the mountain regions of Spain and France But DREW’S FOLLY Hardy Snapdragon is different from its wild relatives in two distinct manners. First, it has demonstrated hardiness in USDA zone 5 in the Plant Select three-year perennial trial at Chatfield Farms in Denver, compared to zone 6 for its ancestors. Second, its flower color is a unique soft seashell pink, not the white of Wild Spanish snapdragons.

Drew's Folly hardy snapdragonThe DREW’S FOLLY snapdragon flowers swarm up the stems from late spring through midsummer perching themselves above small, slightly fuzzy succulent-like leaves. Both the leaves and stems are slightly pubescent which make DREW’S FOLLY appear grey-green and soften spaces in the garden. This feature can be useful when planted with rigid structure plants or throughout jagged hardscapes.

The stems are moderately brittle making it easy to hand pinch flower stems for small arrangements, but this also means the plant should not be used near high foot traffic areas from either pets or people. This hardy snapdragon is also an evergreen perennial but should not be planted where removed snow would be piled. Great places for DREW’S FOLLY are in mixed perennial borders and crevice gardens where an abundance of rocks prove too troublesome for dogs and cats to run through or disturb.

As always, the Plant Select trademarking name tells a story. There is a real person named Drew who, like so many other gardener’s, can forget about a garden plant that is then rediscovered thriving in the garden. Drew Habig is the manager of propagation and production at Denver Botanic Gardens (DBG) overseeing the production of thousands of plants from all over the world. Propagating flats of seedings offers the opportunity to detect subtle differences between individuals within the same species. Mike Bone, assistant director and curator of Steppe Collections at DBG spotted one pink flower in a flat of white Spanish snapdragon seedlings and asked Drew to take cuttings from it to determine if its characteristics would hold true in its descendants. Busy spring days pushed back unplanned tasks and several days later, Drew had found that someone else had stuck cuttings from that plant. That someone was Mike Bone who said, “Drew, if anything great becomes of this plant, it should be named DREW’S FOLLY.” The name stuck as the plant went through trials and Drew can appreciate a plant being named after him.

Don’t let DREW’S FOLLY be your folly this year. Try it in your garden.

Contributed by Ross Shrigley for Plant Select®. This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Colorado Green.

Read more in this issue of Colorado Green NOW:
Gearing up for Pollinator Week 2021
Four Colorado companies placed in the 2021 Lawn & Landscape Top 100
IGIN equipment maintenance survey results released
The ELITE Awards 2021 feature new category, move to a fall event