Cymbalaria muralis is a very short ground cover that grows in sun or shade. It makes a nice matt of leaves and blooms most of the summer. In mid-June it produces the most flowers to make a nice display. The flowers are very interesting but so small that you need to get up close to appreciate their detail.
Its common names include Kenilworth ivy and ivy-leaved toadflax. It is known for its ability to grow in small cracks in walls. This plant spreads a bit too much for a rock garden, but it works great in a bed containing larger plants. In such a situation it covers the ground under other plants and peeks out in the spaces between the other plants. It works especially well under shrubs. Larger plants will outcompete Cymbalaria muralis.
C. muralis spreads by runners which root along nodes as they grow. It is described as a vine, but it is so short that it does not grow up very well. It is mostly a ground hugging spreader. It’s propagation by seed is unusual. The flower stalk is held above the leaves moving towards light. Once the flower is fertilized the flower stalk becomes pendent moving away from light. This helps force the seed into dark crevices on the ground or in rock walls.
Cymbalaria aequitriloba is a very similar species but the plant and flowers are smaller. One description said it lacks the yellow coloration in the throat that is so prominent in C. muralis. C. aequitriloba may have slightly hairy leaves.
Life Cycle: perennial
Height: 5 cm (2 inches)
Bloom Time: May to September
Natural Range: Mediterranean Europe
Habitat: rock crevices, along footpaths
Synonyms: Linaria cymbalaria
Cultivation of Cymbalaria muralis:
Light: sun to shade, prefers part-shade
Soil: well draining
Water: drought tolerant
USDA Hardiness Zone: 4-8
Propagation: seed, division