How To Grow Snapdragons (Antirrhinum)

snapdragons (Antirrhinum)

This comprehensive guide will teach you all aspects of successfully growing gorgeous snapdragons, from choosing varieties and starting plants from seed to transplanting, outdoor planting, plant care, and troubleshooting common problems. By following the tips outlined here, you’ll be on your way to growing vigorous, long-blooming snapdragon plants in your garden.

Choosing the Right Snapdragon Variety

Snapdragons come in an exciting range of sizes, colours, and growth habits:

  • Dwarf snapdragons grow 6 to 12 inches tall making them perfect for containers and edging borders. Popular dwarf varieties include ‘Chantilly’ and ‘Liberty Classic Yellow’.
  • Tall snapdragons can reach heights of 3 to 6 feet and work well in the middle of borders or as cutting garden flowers. Some taller varieties include ‘Rocket Snapdragon Mix’ and ‘Montego Purple’.
  • Trailing or cascading snapdragons have a spreading growth habit, making them ideal for hanging baskets and window boxes. Examples are ‘Floral Showers Mix’ and ‘Twinny Peach’.

When selecting varieties, consider your personal preferences for colour, height, and growth habit. Also factor in site conditions like sunlight, soil, and wind in your area. The many snapdragon varieties available means there’s one suited for almost every garden.

Starting Snapdragon Plants from Seeds

One of the most affordable ways to obtain lots of snapdragon plants is by growing them yourself from seeds. Here are the simple steps:

  • Select a commercial seed starting mix and containers about 2 inches deep. Shallow flats work well.
  • Evenly sow seeds on the potting mix surface without covering them since they need light to germinate.
  • Water gently with a spray bottle to moisten the mix without displacing the tiny seeds.
  • Place flats in a warm, bright location to maintain 65-70°F soil temperature for germination in 7-12 days.
  • Once seedlings emerge, move them to a sunny window or under grow lights. Transplant into cell packs or larger containers when the second set of true leaves appear.

Growing your own transplants from seed enables producing lots of snapdragon plants inexpensively. Plus, it’s fun and easy to do!

Planting Snapdragons Outdoors

When choosing an outdoor planting site for your snapdragons, consider these factors:

  • Sunlight: Most varieties grow best in full sun. Some tolerate partial shade.
  • Soil: Well-drained soil with average fertility is ideal. Amend clay soils with compost.
  • Wind Protection: Shelter plants from strong winds which can damage tender stems.

When transplanting outdoors, space plants 8 to 12 inches apart in rows, beds, or borders. Dig holes deep enough to accommodate the entire root mass, only burying it up to its previous soil level from the pot. Water transplants well and provide shade for a few days if planting during hot, sunny weather.

Caring for Snapdragon Plants

To keep your snapdragons looking their best and blooming prolifically, provide proper care by:

  • Watering regularly whenever the top inch of soil becomes dry. Deep watering encourages deep roots.
  • Applying balanced fertilizer monthly if soils are poor or every 6 weeks in enriched garden beds.
  • Deadheading spent blooms by pinching off faded flowers to promote new buds.
  • Pinching back the main shoots of tall varieties encourages bushier, sturdier plants less prone to flopping over.

With attentive care, your snapdragons will produce an abundance of stunning, long-lasting blooms to enjoy all season long in cut flower arrangements and garden beds.

Troubleshooting Common Snapdragon Problems

Growing healthy, vigorous snapdragons is usually easy but sometimes problems pop up:

  • Pests like aphids, thrips, leafminers can infest plants causing disfigured growth and flowers. Apply insecticidal soap sprays as needed.
  • Diseases like rust, botrytis, powdery mildew appear as leaf spots, discoloration. Improve air circulation and avoid wetting foliage.
  • Nutrient deficiencies exhibit as leaf yellowing, stunting. Apply balanced fertilizer and correct poor drainage.
  • Over or underwatering also causes leaf yellowing and drop. Check soil moisture frequently and adjust watering habits.

Catching problems early makes treatment easier on your plants. Your local extension office can offer pest and disease identification and control recommendations also.

FAQs – How to Grow Snapdragons (Antirrhinum)

Q. When is the best time to plant snapdragons? In most climates, snapdragons are planted outdoors after the last spring frost date once soils have warmed. They tolerate cooler conditions quite well however.

Q. How can I extend the blooming season of my snapdragons? Deadheading spent blooms consistently encourages plants to produce new flower spikes through fall. Sheltering plants from hard frosts can prolong flowering also.

Q. What are some companion plants for snapdragons? Snapdragons pair beautifully with cool weather annuals like pansies, calendulas, ornamental kale and poppies. They also combine nicely with perennials like asters, coral bells, catmint and grasses.

Q. Can I grow snapdragons in containers? Yes, dwarf and trailing varieties work exceptionally well grown in pots, window boxes and hanging baskets, providing masses of colorful blooms. Use a commercial potting soil and keep plants well watered.

Q. How can I harvest snapdragon seeds for future planting? Allow blooms of favourite varieties to fade completely on plants. The flower spikes will form brown seed pods. When mostly dry, pick pods and further dry indoors. Separate out small seeds to store in envelopes labelled with names and date.

Learning how to successfully grow snapdragons opens up amazing possibilities for enjoying these charming flowers in your garden for years to come. With so many sizes, colours and growth habits available, it’s fun to experiment with the diverse varieties too. This guide outlines everything needed to plant, nurture and troubleshoot snapdragons so you’ll reap gorgeous blossoms.

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