The Island snapdragon is an evergreen shrub with arching stems that develops a dense and sprawling habit, growing to 3-4 ft. high and 8-10 ft. wide. Leaves and stems are smooth and distinctively lime green; small clusters of red tubular ﬂowers that grow on the tips of stems are bright and colorful from spring through mid-summer.
The Island snapdragon is native to several offshore islands of California where it grows in scrub vegetation with moist winters and dry summers. It has proven to be a very popular plant for hummingbirds, and is well adapted to Inland Empire climate conditions in full sun, on many types of soil and with low amounts of summer moisture. It provides fresh green foliage character and intense red flowering along borders, on banks and around bioswales.
Several cultivars of Island snapdragon are available from different sources. One choice, G. s. ‘Firecracker’ is a smaller and tighter growing selection, 2-3 ft. wide and 4-5 ft. across. It’s leaves and stems are covered with fuzzy hairs and it produces larger deep red flowers than the species. G. s. ‘Bosa Roca’ is another compact selection with deep red flowers, fuzzy stems and dense mounding habit. The flowers on this cultivar tend to flair open like the popular annual snapdragon.