Snapdragons Galore

Learn about the joys and beauty of growing this wonderful old fashioned classic flower

Rust infects snapdragons October 30, 2008

Rust infects snapdragons       

05:39 PM PDT on Friday, April 27, 2007

Ottillia “Toots” Bier


Q: I just noticed that some of my snapdragons have bright orange bumps on the underside of the leaves. Should I be concerned?

A: What you have spotted is a fungal disease that affects snapdragons and many other plants such as roses and hollyhocks. It is characterized by yellow spots on the upper sides of the leaves and orange pustules (spores) on the undersides of the leaves. The spores are carried by the wind and may infect susceptible leaves on which they land.

Moisture and moderate temperatures typical of spring weather are necessary for spore germination.

Rust control is a year-round chore. You can reduce the incidence of spore germination by avoiding overhead watering and by watering early in the day so the leaves dry quickly.  

In the fall and winter, gather and destroy all infected leaves, both those on the ground and those still on the plants. While the weather remains favorable to the disease, you can spray your plants every seven to 14 days with a fungicide specifically labeled for rust. As always, the manufacturer’s directions must be followed carefully to ensure effective protection.

A final tactic for the future is to select one of the newer cultivars that have been bred specifically to resist rust infections. Although their degree of resistance may not be 100 percent, their performance will be a significant improvement over older cultivars.




Plant some snazzy summer snapdragons and watch visitors snap to attention

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 3:16 pm
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Plant some snazzy summer snapdragons and watch visitors snap to attention     


April 2007                                                

Each year, I enjoy helping announce the Mississippi Medallion award winners, but 2007 will be extra special because it includes the first angelonia to win the award: the Serena series.

There are a lot of great angelonias in the market, but the Serena series holds special favor. It is the first seed-produced angelonia in the market. Sure, you’ll buy it as a transplant, but the seed gives the grower that option if he chooses.

The Serena series is among the shortest of the angelonias, reaching 12 to 15 inches tall and spreading almost as wide. Choose a site in full sun for best blooming. Please do not stick this wonderful plant in tight, cement-like soil.  Before planting, work 2 to 3 inches of organic matter into your bed. While preparing the bed, take the opportunity to incorporate 2 pounds of a slow-release fertilizer with a 2-1-2 ratio. Plant at the same depth they are growing in the container, and then apply a good layer of mulch.

Beginning in the spring, they will bloom and bloom and bloom – incredibly long for a plant called summer snapdragon. The angelonia is from Mexico and the West Indies and can take anything Mississippi’s summers can dish out.

Serena angelonias are available in several colors: lavender, lavender-pink, purple, white and a mix. Since they are such heat- and drought-tolerant plants, you will want to plant them in mass with other rock-solid performers such as melampodium, Profusion zinnias, Titan periwinkles or rudbeckias. Their spiky texture is most welcome in the garden world dominated by round flowers.

Pay attention though, because if they should go through a prolonged dry spell, supplemental irrigation will pay dividends with a healthier, more productive plant.

A light, monthly application of the 2-1-2-ratio fertilizer, such as a 10-5-10 with minor nutrients, is all this plant needs to keep blooming. The bloom period is really long, and when it does want to cycle, it responds well to trimming with a pair of pruning shears.

There have been virtually no disease or insect pressures on the Serena angelonia making it a great choice for the novice gardener as well as the more experienced.

Serena angelonias are being promoted as annuals and are a terrific buy. From Hattiesburg southward, keep your eyes open next spring for a repeat performance, especially with good bed preparation where winter drainage will not be an issue.

Look for Serena angelonias to arrive at garden centers this month. Serena is the 43rd Mississippi Medallion award winner since the program began in 1996. The program is sponsored by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, The Mississippi Plant Selections Committee and the Mississippi Nursery and Landscape Association. 


Norman Winter is a horticulturist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Contact him at the Central Mississippi Research and Extension Center, 1320 Seven Springs Road, Raymond MS 39154. He can be heard weekdays at 7:19 a.m. on Public Radio in Mississippi.


Snapdragons are easy to grow, colorful

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 3:11 pm
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 Snapdragons are easy to grow, colorful

By Joan Cobb Washington County Master Gardener

I think every garden should have snapdragons (botanical name: Antirrhinum majus). They are easy to grow, colorful and make nice cut flowers. For grandparents, when you want to act like a child again for a “good” senior moment, and no one is looking, you can pick off the little snapdragon blossom and gently squeeze the sides of the top and bottom bloom and make that dragon roar! When little ones come to your garden you can choose your color of dragon and share in wildly imaginative adventures of dragon wars for a moment or two!

As a rule, snapdragons don’t favor hot conditions, however, my snapdragons do well in my garden. They are treated as annuals, but often self-sow. The seeds can be planted directly in flower beds as soon as the soil is workable, or you can buy nursery-grown hardened-off snapdragons for spring planting. They bloom from summer to fall, and if hot weather temporarily halts blooming, just prune the plants and they will bloom again in the fall. Their colors are white, pink, red, purple, orange, yellow and some hybrids are bi-colored. The flowers are spikes of ruffled, tubular blooms, they prefer moist, well-drained soil and are partial to full sun. There are 30 to 40 species of snapdragon, their height can be 6 inches to 4 feet, their spread 6 inches to 2 feet.

Well-liked cultivars include the low-growing Floral Showers series that reach 6 to 8 inches tall, and Bells, another dwarf variety that provides long-lasting blooms in solid and bi-colored shades. The “Madame Butterfly” variety grows to 36 inches and features rich, double blooms that resemble azaleas. The “Sonnet” and “Liberty” series are two prime, medium-height selections. Both make nice cut flowers for bouquets. The “Rocket” cultivar reaches 48 inches tall and can handle heat, but to avoid toppling over will need to be staked. Deadheading regularly before seedpods form will encourage any size snapdragon to keep on blooming.

Snapdragons are an old-time favorite – they can stir up happy childhood memories and also be the beginning of some happy memories.

As I said, every garden should have snapdragons in it!


Morning Sentinel                   


Snapdragons Plant them and your garden will ignite with color

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 3:08 pm
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      Snapdragons Plant Them and  Your       

                             Garden Will Ignite With Color

Over the years I have enjoyed watching children squeeze this flower’s cheeks to see the dragon open wide, exposing its brightly colored throat, and then snap closed. This childish act has entertained generations of youngsters, but it’s not the only thing that makes this plant special.

When people ask me what to plant in the fall other than pansies, snapdragons quickly come to mind. They give you more height than groundhugging pansies and work well in the middle or back of borders. They also work great in containers. These cheery plants come in a wide array of colors, ranging from the brightest reds and yellows to the softest pastel pinks. Many of the flowers are bicolored. Some selections have blooms that look like open butterfly wings. An All-America Selections winner Madame Butterfly sports large, azalealike flowers.

Snapdragons are tender perennials but are typically grown as annuals. I wait until late October or early November, after the chrysanthemums stop blooming, to plant them at my home. In the Lower South snaps will bloom throughout the winter. But in the Middle South spring is the time they really put on a show. If you live in the Upper South, where the ground freezes solid, plant snaps in the spring and they’ll bloom until fall.

The last three autumns, I have planted Liberty snaps that grow 18 to 24 inches tall. Towering selections such as Rocket shoot up to 36 inches. These two are not only tall but also winter hardy. If you prefer dwarf snaps, try Little Darling-a mere 10 to 12 inches tall.

Lucinda Mays of Callaway Gardens likes the sturdystemmed Sonnet Series. She was also impressed with the way Black Prince held up during the cold last winter.

If you have full sun to partial shade with rich, welldrained soil, you’ll have no problem growing snaps. Pinch off the first buds to create a bushy plant. If you leave the first buds you will have early blooms and tall, spiky plants. Once your snaps begin to bloom out and turn brown, cut them back below the spent flowers. This will encourage new growth and a second bloom. Snaps can get top-heavy and topple over; try using small dogwood branches to prop them up. Taller selections such as Rocket may need to be staked to a single piece of bamboo.

If you think snaps look good in your garden, you’ll love them in the house. They make wonderful, long-lasting cut flowers. So this fall, in addition to planting pansies and bulbs, try snapdragons. They’re guaranteed to make you and the children happy.

Pages 94-95: Black Prince, Liberty, Madame Butterfly, and Little Darling, available from Thompson & Morgan (MO), 1-800-274-7333, no minimum order, catalog free; Rocket available from Park Seed (MO), 1-800-845-3369, no minimum order, catalog free; Madame Butterfly available from Ferry-Morse Seeds (MO), 1-800-283-3400, no minimum order, catalog free.   

Find Articles – Originally from Southern Living    



Serena Lavender Snapdragon

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 3:05 pm
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Serena Lavender


Where Can I Buy Snapdragons?

      Where Can I Buy Snapdragons     


That will depend on whether or not you want to plant seeds or seedlings and the varieties you want to plant.

 For standard varieties very often the seed stores (and even dollar stores) will have racks of seed packets 8 or 10 for $1.00.  Now I have used these inexpensive packets for over thirty years with excellent results.


The fancier varieties such as double colors will require you switch up to some of the better known brand names.

You can also order through various seed catalogs which I will cover in  another page.  I have ordered seeds and plants from these catalogs for over thirty years with excellent success and have received great customer service as well.


You may choose to purchase seedlings, instead of planting seeds.  Usually these are available through any good flower/home and garden center.  You can buy some packets of six flowers or entire flats with dozens of seedlings in them.


Here are some tips on purchasing seedlings:


When starting a new garden, or adding to an existing one,
it is absolutely vital to choose only the healthiest plants from the best sources. While many gardeners prefer the control that can only be had by growing plants directly from seed, others prefer to buy seedlings or seed packs from a reputable nursery or garden center.


When buying seedlings to transplant,
it is essential that the gardener choose only the healthiest and most robust plants. Ifyou are new to the gardening world, be sure to seek advice from more experienced gardeners with regards to the best places to buy healthy plants. Knowing where to buy, and what to look for once you get there, will give you a great start toward gardening success.


Be sure to look over the nursery or garden center
carefully and make an assessment of the health of the plants for sale. Do they have a robust look, with lush foliage and strong stems? Are they free of insects and disease? Be sure to look for any signs of disease, including spots on the leaves, holes, or scarring on the branches or stems.


Each flower variety you buy should come with instructions
for how to best transplant and take care of the plant. If such instructions are not provided, be sure to ask the staff at the nursery for recommendations. Following the recommendations and tailoring your care to the needs of each individual plant is the best way to succeed.




How to Grow Snapdragons

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 2:19 pm
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How to Grow Snapdragons       

Snapdragons were one of the first flowers I tended as a child. Their bright colors and snapping jaws enchanted me from the first. Native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, snapdragons have been popular in gardens for years. Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) come in three types: dragon, butterfly, and double azalea. Butterfly and double azalea varieties resemble their namesakes and are very lovely in the garden. But only the dragon varieties make the snapping sound, so they are the varieties I will concentrate on.



Within the dragon types of snapdragons, there are several varieties. Some, such as the Rocket varieties, can grow up to four feet tall. Dwarf varieties will remain six to twelve inches high for the entire season. The taller varieties will need full sun to prevent the flower stalks from flopping over, but shorter varieties can tolerate some shade. Some varieties self-seed, but most that you will find in the nurseries are hybrids and won’t come back true.

Growing Snapdragons

Snapdragons can be transplanted or grown from seed. Seed germination can be tricky, but is possible. Keep the seed flats in a warm place—on top of a refrigerator or on a heated germination tray—until they sprout, then get light on them. They will be ready to transplant three to four weeks after sprouting.

Transplanting is easy. Simply dig a hole a little bigger than the pot the snapdragon came in, and drop the snapdragon in. Fill in the dirt around the roots and water to settle the soil. Fertilizer is optional in most soils. Mulch them to keep the roots cool and the snapdragon blooming longer.

Cooler temperatures encourage long-lasting blooms.Daily highs over eighty degrees inhibit flowering. Buy the plants without blooms and get them in the garden just before summer temperatures begin to cool to allow them time to settle in. The roots will grow deeper and the plants will be healthier. Spring is another ideal time to plant snapdragons. Transplant them after the last frost and they will grow and bloom until summer settles in.

Deadheading, or trimming off spent blooms, keeps snapdragons flowering. The flowers form on tall spikes on most varieties, with the blooms starting at the bottom and working their way up. Wait until the entire spike has finished blooming and cut it off, rather than pinching off each flower.

Snapdragons will turn completely brown at the first hard frost. At that point, you can rip them out or trim them down even with the soil. They won’t come back once they are brown. In places where winter frosts are light or nonexistent, snapdragons can be perennials.


Snapdragons are entirely decorative and a lot of fun. The tall ones look lovely in a small bed or as a backdrop for a larger bed, but I always keep a group of smaller ones up at the front of a bed for the kids to play with. If you’ve never done this, you must try it. Get close to the plant, so that your ear is within a few inches of the flower. Gently pinch the base of the flower, where the color just begins, right above the green. You’ll notice the open flower resembles the jaws of a dragon with a fuzzy tongue. Release the flower and it will shut with a snap.

The taller snapdragons look beautiful in floral arrangements. Cut a spike when the buds are fully formed and the first blossoms are open at the bottom. The flowers will continue to open in the vase.

Snapdragons deserve a place in every garden. Introduce these to your children and grandchildren and enjoy them on cool fall afternoons.

~Adele Francks    

Adele Francks has been gardening since she could follow her mother around and hold her own spade. Flowers are a particular love of hers because they are so easy to grow.

Garden and the Earth