Antirrhinums, with their ‘snapdragon’ flower shape and vibrant colours, have become a favourite of the garden, providing autumn and winter colour – either mass planted to form closely packed pyramids of colour or trailing from a basket.
This easy guide will show you everything you need to know about growing and caring for your snapdragon plants.
What are snapdragons?
Snapdragons (Antirrhinums) are usually treated as a biennial and have distinct dragon-like flowers that are often associated with childhood. Children love to play with the individual flowers – pinching them to cause a dragon-like mouth to open and close!
The flowers are lightly scented and the colours available are now widely assorted – light pinks and crimsons, yellows, whites and carmines. Their flowers often shade from one colour to another on different parts of the petal.
Snapdragons are available in two classes – either as dwarf, pyramid-shaped plants, or as the tall tower-like plants.
When to plant snapdragons?
For autumn bedding, plant out your plug plants from late-August to mid-September, depending on the size of the plants acquired.
For spring bedding which will ensure a bright, summer display – plant out in late March or April.
How and where to plant snapdragons
We recommend planting snapdragons indoors until they reach around 8cm to 10cm in height, at which point, you can transfer them outdoors. Snapdragons love sunny areas of the garden grow wild on old walls and will thrive in a border. The soil conditions should ideally be well-draining with a neutral pH, and an average amount of moisture.
When positioned in place, dig the hole over thoroughly and mix in plenty of organic matter – such as manure or leaf mould.
When do snapdragons flower?
Snapdragons grow on tubular spikes, with flowers which open from the base upwards. To create a greater abundance of flower spikes, pinch out the stem tips when the plants are established in their growing positions.
Early cutting of flowers will encourage the plants to produce new, later blooming stems. Deadheading will also prolong the flowering period. Each antirrhinum plant will grow out around eight flower spikes in a season.
How to care for snapdragons
Snapdragons do typically require little maintenance, but a symptom of disease to look for is ‘rusting’ on the underside of leaves – small brown spots on the underside and pale indents on the upper surface. This is caused by a fungus, and if the attack is severe, the leaves may shrivel and fall. If you discover this on your snapdragons, spray with an anti-fungicide and remove any affected plants at the end of the flowering season.