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Italian Toadflax

Cymbalaria pallida

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Plantaginaceae (Plantain)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Gardens, rocky places, walls, wasteland, woodland.

Purple, 5 petals
Similar in appearance to Ivy-leaved Toadflax (Cymbalaria muralis) but with darker purple flowers and a white bulge in the centre, rather than yellow. Pollinated by bees.
The fruit capsules appear from July to October.
Light green, ivy-like, fleshy, leathery leaves. The leaves are in opposite pairs. Perennial.
Other Names:
Kenilworth Ivy.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Cymbalaria pallida, also known as Kenilworth Ivy or Ivy-leaved Toadflax, is a perennial flowering plant in the Plantaginaceae family. It is native to Europe and western Asia, and is often grown as a groundcover or in hanging baskets. The plant has small, ivy-shaped leaves and produces small, violet-blue flowers in the spring and summer. It prefers well-drained soil and partial shade, and can be propagated by dividing the root ball or taking stem cuttings. It's hardy to USDA Zone 7.


Italian Toadflax, Cymbalaria pallida, is a small flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region. Also known as Kenilworth Ivy, this delicate and beautiful plant is a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers due to its low maintenance and long blooming period.

The plant features leaves that are green and slightly hairy, and tiny flowers that bloom in shades of blue, purple, or pink. The flowers are arranged in clusters and bloom from spring to fall, making it an attractive addition to any garden throughout the growing season.

One of the unique characteristics of Italian Toadflax is its ability to grow in a variety of conditions. It can thrive in full sun or partial shade, and is drought-tolerant, making it an excellent choice for xeriscaping. It can also grow in a range of soils, from well-drained to slightly damp, making it a versatile option for gardeners.

In addition to its ornamental value, Italian Toadflax is also a popular choice for ground cover. It forms a dense mat of foliage and flowers that can be used to cover bare spots in a garden or to create a lush, verdant look in rock gardens or on slopes.

Despite its beauty, Italian Toadflax is considered an invasive species in some areas, as it has the ability to spread rapidly and outcompete native plant species. It is important to be mindful of this when planting Italian Toadflax, and to keep it under control by removing any unwanted growth.

Overall, Italian Toadflax is a delightful and versatile plant that is well-suited to a variety of gardens and landscapes. Whether used as a ground cover or as a potted plant, it adds color and texture to any outdoor space, and its ease of care makes it a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers alike.

In terms of care and maintenance, Italian Toadflax is a low-maintenance plant that requires little attention. It is best grown in soil that is well-drained, as it is susceptible to root rot in soil that is too moist. It also requires occasional watering, but is otherwise drought-tolerant and can handle dry spells with ease.

Another benefit of Italian Toadflax is its resistance to pests and diseases. It is relatively free from significant problems, making it an easy-to-grow option for gardeners of all levels of experience.

In terms of propagation, Italian Toadflax can be propagated by seed, stem cuttings, or division. It is a fast-growing plant, and its stems will root easily if they come into contact with soil. Division can be performed in spring or fall, and involves separating clumps of the plant and replanting them in new areas.

When it comes to using Italian Toadflax in the garden, the possibilities are endless. It is often used as a ground cover in rock gardens or along slopes, and is also a popular choice for planting in crevices in walls and stones. It can also be used as an edging plant along paths and walkways, or as a filler plant in mixed borders.

In addition to its ornamental value, Italian Toadflax is also a popular choice for green roofs and walls, as it is able to withstand the harsh conditions found on these structures. Its ability to grow in shallow soil, combined with its low-maintenance requirements, makes it an ideal choice for these applications.

Italian Toadflax is also a great choice for container gardening, as it can be grown in pots and hanging baskets. This makes it an excellent option for those with limited garden space, or for those who want to add a touch of color to patios and balconies. When grown in containers, Italian Toadflax should be planted in a well-draining potting mix and given adequate moisture. In warm climates, it is best to place the container in a location that provides some shade during the hottest part of the day.

One of the interesting aspects of Italian Toadflax is its relationship with pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant is a valuable source of nectar for these important insects, and its long blooming period makes it an attractive option for gardeners who want to support local pollinators.

Italian Toadflax is also a great option for those looking to create a low-maintenance and sustainable garden. Its ability to thrive in a variety of conditions, combined with its low water requirements and resistance to pests and diseases, make it an eco-friendly choice for those who want to create a sustainable outdoor space.

In terms of design, Italian Toadflax can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the look of a garden. When planted in large masses, it creates a lush and verdant look, while when planted in smaller groups, it provides a delicate and understated touch. It can also be used to create a textured look when combined with other plants, such as grasses or groundcovers.

In conclusion, Italian Toadflax is a versatile and attractive plant that is well-suited to a variety of gardening styles and landscapes. Whether grown in the ground or in containers, it is a low-maintenance and eco-friendly option that brings beauty and sustainability to any outdoor space.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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