Mouth of Lion, Sowing and Cultivation
The lion’s mouth is an extraordinary plant that creates an explosion of flowers. Let’s see what it is about and how to cultivate this very widespread species.
The lion’s mouth is a perennial plant, mostly cultivated as an annual or biennial, with an erect stem and characteristic mouth shaped flowers, similar to that of a lion.
It is part of the Antirrhinum family and is native to the countries that overlook the Mediterranean. There are about 40 different species including many hybrids.
The lion’s mouth is a plant that adapts well to our climate, manages to survive at temperatures a few degrees below zero. From central to southern Italy it can also be cultivated as a perennial plant.
The lion’s mouth can reach 100-120 cm in height depending on the species chosen. It is a bushy and branched plant that can be grown both in pots and in the garden and gives life to beautiful colorful blooms. The colors are: red, pink, yellow and orange.
Let’s see how to sow and take care of this beautiful plant.
How And When To Sow
The lion’s mouth is a plant that can produce many quantities of seeds during the summer and autumn. They can be harvested and stored for the following season and other seedlings can be obtained. Or you can buy sachets containing seeds of this species, for a few euros. Sowing the lion’s mouth is very easy. It ‘a plant that can also reproduce itself, so in areas with harsher winters is grown as an annual or biennial.
If we want to anticipate the times and have the plants of the lion’s mouth ready for transplanting already in spring, we can choose to reproduce this species in the greenhouse or seedbed. The procedure is very simple and takes place from February to March.
Let’s get small pots and fill them with peat, a type of soil god recommended for sowing. Let’s fill the pots with earth and spread 3-4 seeds per pot, cover with a light dusting of peat.
As soon as the pots are ready let’s get a nebulizer and fill it with water to wet the ground. Then water and then place the jars in the greenhouse, we cover with the cover. Periodically wet the soil keeping it always moist.
The ideal temperature to keep in the seedbed is 20-22°.
After about 5/6 days from sowing, we may notice the first shoots. They should be left for a few more days in the greenhouse. After this time we could take the plants out of the seedbed and get them used to the climate of the house. Let’s eliminate the excess shoots leaving the seedlings healthier. Let’s place the pots in a bright place in the house or get a lamp for indoor cultivation. Continue to periodically wet the soil with the nebulizer.
Subsequently, with the outside temperatures rising, we can take the small plants outside, gradually getting them used first in the shade and then slowly in the sun.
To be more successful in sowing, the seedbed or mini greenhouse must have a heated mat, or a built-in heater.
If we don’t have a greenhouse or don’t want to sow at home, we can wait until April and sow the lion’s mouths outside. Sow the seeds on the chosen soil and cover slightly.
Take Care Of The Lion’s Mouth
Once the plants have reached a height of about 20 cm, they will be ready for transplanting. This usually happens towards April-May, when the danger of night frost is now averted.
Choose a sunny place and prepare a small hole. Take the jars with the chosen lion mouths and wet the soil well. Press the pot lightly with the palm of your hand and let the small compact plant of soil and roots come out. Place it in the hole previously made and water.
The lion’s mouth is a plant that grows rapidly. It prefers an exposition in full sun where it can give life to fantastic blooms. However, it can adapt to semi-shaded places.
The ideal temperature for the development of the plant ranges from 10° minimum to over 30° maximum. It loves the warm zones. It survives less rigid winters, but not beyond -5 °.
Watering must be constant during the summer period. Water every time the soil dries, avoiding excess water and water stagnation.
The lion’s mouth blooms from mid-May to the first cold, taking a short break between blooms. It is important to constantly remove flowers and dry parts of the plant to stimulate the flowering. In this way, the mouth of the lion can give life to a flower cake.