Snapdragons Galore

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

Snapdragons are easy to grow, colorful October 30, 2008

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 yield cool color options.

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 2:52 pm
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Snapdragons yield cool color options.                                           




By Norman Winter                                     

MSU Horticulturist
Central Mississippi Research & Extension Center

As exciting as the new pansies have been, 2005 was also a great year for new snapdragons. Our growers hit the target with the highest quality snaps I have ever seen. Garden centers tell me the snapdragons seemed earlier and created steady sales to enthusiastic customers.

Pan American Seed introduced the new Snapshot series this year. These are considered dwarf size reaching 6 to 10 inches tall, but they also spread outward 10 to 14 inches. The Snapshot snapdragons are available in eight colors and two mixes and have some of the most vibrant colors you will ever see in the cool-season landscape.

One of the most photographed plants at the trials this year was a new trailing snap from Ball FloraPlant called Sugarplum. Sugarplum is in the Luminaire series and is ideally suited in hanging baskets. They fill out a basket with incredible vigor and are certainly showy enough to be a stand-alone plant.


Its trailing habit lends itself to being used in mixed containers where you combine it with upright plants like a tall dianthus, flowering kale, asparagus fern and pansies. The Sugar Plum is plum purple, so combine it with white and yellow for a truly eye-catching combination.


S & G Seed has gained notoriety for their snapdragons with the introduction of the Montego series that reaches 12 inches tall. My favorite new selection this year is the Montego Orange bi-color that is an iridescent orange and yellow.


Keep your eyes open to see if any of the Crown series shows up. The crown series is also from S & G and is taller, reaching 15 to 18 inches tall. This year they have introduced a knockout selection called Candy Corn. It does look good enough to eat, but if you ever find it for sale, you will want it in the landscape because I promise you will be the envy of the neighborhood.


The snapdragon is native to Europe and the Mediterranean and is known botanically as Antirrhinum majus. The trailing snapdragons are a result of a cross with A. molle and A. hispanicum from Spain, giving them even more resiliency.


When it comes to snapdragons, bed preparation will pay off. Select a site in full sun for best bloom production. Incorporate 3 to 4 inches of organic matter along with 2 pounds of a slow-release, 12-6-6 fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area.


Space transplants as recommended. This maymean some selections, like Rockets, should go toward the back of the border, and others like the Montegos or Snapshots, up front. Apply a good layer of mulch to keep soil temperatures moderate and give added winter protection.

Deadhead snapdragons to keep them tidy and blooming. If unusually cold weather is forecasted, completely cover them with pine straw until the temperatures have moderated.
Pay attention to moisture levels now and during the winter. While soggy feet can be lethal, many cold fronts in the South dry out beds to a severe level. As growth becomes more active in late winter or early spring, side dress with a light application of fertilizer.

There are a lot of snapdragon varieties on the market, but you may not find the ones I mentioned. Rest assured that varieties such as Rockets, Sonnets, Liberty Classics, Solstice and Ribbons are all worth planting and will make your cool-season landscape come alive with color.


Cinnamon Bronz                                                        Dancing Flame        

Varieties of Snap Dragons

      Varieties of Snap Dragons
These colorful flowers are best used in Florida from fall to early spring. Grow snapdragons in well-drained soil in full sun, though a little shade for only a couple hours a day can be tolerated. Space the plants 10 to 14 inches apart. Pinch off the tops of the plants after planting to induce branching. There are many types of snapdragons available, but most can be classified into one of four common groups: tall (2 to 3 feet), intermediate (1 to 2 feet), short (9 to 12 inches), and dwarf (4 to 9 inches). Tall types include ‘Rocket’ and ‘Bright Butterflies.’ ‘Monarch,’ ‘Pixie,’ ‘Vanity Fair,’ and ‘Rembrandt’ are common intermediate types. ‘Tom Thumb’ and ‘Floral Carpet’ are short types, and ‘Magic Carpet’ and ‘Little Gem’ are popular dwarfs. Put the tall and intermediate types at the backs of beds, and use the short and dwarf types for the fronts or edges of beds.
           Southern Living
Height: 3 ft Spacing: 12 in
Type: annual
Flowers: Pink, purple, red, white, yellow, orange

Comments: A wide range of snapdragon strains is available.
The tall types are two and one half to three feet tall,
the intermediates are one to two feet tall, the bedding
types are six to fifteen inches tall, and the rock garden
hybrids are three to six inches tall. The dwarf types can
be used in sunny window boxes. The flowers come in a wide
range of colors. Snapdragons grow in any slightly acid,
garden soil, however, they don’t grow well in clay. The
plants require full sun and moist soil. A second crop of
flowers may be obtained from plants that have finished
flowering. Cut them back to within 5 or 6 nodes of the
ground when the first flowers fade. Fertilize when the
second crop of flower buds become visible.

Propagation: Snapdragons may be propagated by seeds, or
by cuttings which root readily. The seed germinates in 10
to 14 days at 70 degrees. Do not cover the seed with
soil. Pre-chilled seeds germinate best. Seedlings with
two to three sets of leaves are pinched, however, dwarf
forms do not need pinching. Plants with dark colored
flowers have dark green or reddish stems and those with
white or pale flowers have pale green stems. Set plants
in the garden after the danger of frost has passed.

‘Floral Carpet Series’ – Dwarf
‘Floral Showers Series’ – Dwarf
‘Liberty Series’ (Vis. 1) – Intermediate
‘Princess White/Purple Eye’ – Intermediate
‘Rocket Series’ – Tall
‘Royal Carpet Series’ – Dwarf
‘Sonnet Series’ – Intermediate
‘Tahiti Series’ – Dwarf

References for Cultivars: Lowell C. Ewart, 1997 Flower
Seed Trials, Michigan State University.                          


                                                                         judy’s flower’s


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



Snapdragons- Garden Basics

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 2:12 pm
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       Snapdragon – Garden Basics

Snapdragons are a particular favorite of children who like to pinch the tiny individual blossoms and make the “dragon mouth” open and close. Their large, blossom-laden flower heads are faintly fragrant and come in in a wide assortment of bright colors. The vertical flower spikes, opening gradually from the bottom to the top, are available in two heights: dwarf varieties grow to about 10 inches while the taller types grow to a height of 18-24 inches. A vareity that grows up to 5 feet has been developed, but it must be staked. A single snapdragon plant may produce seven or eight blossom spikes in the course of a summer.
Snapdragons make excellent cutflowers and excel in beds and at the front of borders. Gardeners used to be less than enthusiastic about snapdragons as cut flowers because blossoms tended to “shatter”–drop off shortly after being fertilized by bees, but plant breeders have developed shatterproof strains. Snapdragons flourish in well-fertilized soil and full sun.
Sow seeds indoors eight weeks before the last frost. Moving seedlings outdoors as early as a the bed can be worked. They will tolerate frost. In Zones 8-10, seedlings started in a sheltered seedbed may be moved outdoors any time in the fall for winter and spring flowering. Plants should stand from 6 to 12 inches apart, depending on the size of the variety planted. Seedlings purchased from a garden center where conditions are carefully controled will usually bloom earlier than those started at home. If possible, choose rust resistant varieties. When the plants are 2 to 4 inches tall, pinch off the stem tips if shorter but more abundant flower spikes are desired. Then, as the flowers mature, use them freely for bouquets; the cutting will force plants to produce additional stems that will bloom later in the season. These plants will benefit from deadheading, which will prolong their flowering period. 


Garden Guides                              


All About Snapdragons

Filed under: annuals,perennials,snapdragons — patoconnor @ 2:09 pm
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         All About Snapdragons    

The National Garden Bureau has designated 1994 as the year of the snapdragon. Snaps, like many garden flowers, have a long history of enjoyment. Children love opening the jaw of the flower and watching it snap shut. Opening the dragon’s jaw in just the right place is a skill passed down from parent to child just like the love of gardening. The Latin name for snapdragon is Antirrhinum majus. “Anti” in Greek means “like,” and “rhinos” means “snout.” Snapdragon flowers are available in every color but blue. The erect spikes are covered with buds which open from the bottom to the top. The gradual opening of the buds provides color for an extended period of time. During the 1950’s snapdragons were one of the top five cut flowers grown in North America. In the late 50’s, breeding work was started to develop varieties with improved garden performance. By 1960 six All American Selection ‘Silver Awards’ had been given to the ‘Rocket’ snaps. Another successful breeding project was the development of ‘Bright Butterflies’ during the 60’s. The “butterfly” flowers do not snap as the usual snapdragons. The jaw of this snapdragon is replaced with a fused open face floret that resembles butterfly wings. In 1970 ‘Madame Butterfly’ was developed. This was the first F1 Hybrid “double azalea” flower form with good garden performance. The double azalea form is the “butterfly” type with extra petals in the center. The breeding work done in the 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s has resulted in the three forms of snapdragon flowers available today; the “dragon jaws”, “butterfly”, and “double azalea flowered”. In addition to flower form, breeding work was done to develop a dwarf habit of snapdragon. In 1965, ‘Floral Carpet’ snaps, which grow just 6 to 8 inches tall, were introduced and have gained in popularity ever since.

Snapdragon classifications are based either on flower form or height. Height falls into three categories; dwarf, medium or tall. Dwarf plants have a dense, bushy habit producing numerous flower spikes. They grow just 6 to 15 inches tall and are perfect plants for use in a low border or containers. Mid-sized varieties grow 15 to 30 inches tall and are used in borders (either alone or with other annuals) and as cut flowers. Tall varieties will grow 30 to 48 inches in height. They make a wonderful plant for the back of the border as well as for cut flowers.

Snapdragons flower best in full sun or light shade and should be planted in rich well drained soil. Prepare the soil by breaking up large clumps of soil and amending heavy soils with compost or peat moss. The root system is quite fine and can easily be damaged by deep cultivation. A layer of organic mulch around the plants will conserve moisture as well as prevent weed growth. Tall varieties of snaps need to be staked to prevent breakage. Staking should be done early in the season. Tie the stem to the stake as the stem lengthens with soft cloth.

Dwarf varieties to look for at your local garden center include the ‘Floral Carpet’ and ‘Floral Showers’ series. Both varieties grow 6 to 8 inches tall with the traditional “dragon jaws” flower form. The ‘Pixie’ mixture grows 7 to 9 inches tall with a butterfly type flower. Mid-sized plants include the ‘Liberty’ series. These plants grow 18 to 22 inches tall with “dragon jaws” flowers. The ‘Madame Butterfly’ mixture grows 24 to 30 inches tall with the double azalea flower form. The ‘Princess’ series grows 16 to 18 inches with traditional flower form. Tall varieties include ‘Bright Butterflies’ mixture. This “butterfly” flowered variety grows 24 to 36 inches tall. The ‘Rocket’ series grows 30 to 36 inches tall with traditionally shaped flowers that are excellent for cutting.

1994 Year of the Snapdragon