A cut flower garden is sensational to grow and snapdragons are an excellent choice. Learn when to plant this perennial and how to care for the flowers for a gorgeous display both outdoors and inside.
When to plant snapdragons: Grown as a perennial, snapdragons will add full color to your garden and you can leave them growing or cut them back for a stunning bouquet. You can start snapdragons by seeds indoors, about eight weeks before the last spring frost date. Then, transplant them to your garden and make sure the soil is well-draining. Snapdragons grow quickly and you will have flowers that same summer. As the blooms start to fade, deadhead the plants so that you can generate new blooms. After all the flowers have faded, you can cut back the foliage. After being dormant for the winter, snapdragons will grow again in the spring. If you want even more snapdragons in your garden, you can harvest the seed pods that grow at the base of the stems.
Planting Snapdragons in Different Climates
Snapdragons may grow in a tropical climate as they like sunshine and warmth. However, they are prone to root rot so too much moisture can affect the plants.
Furthermore, as a perennial, snapdragons need a cooler dormant period. If you don’t have any success with snapdragons coming back each year, you may have to re-plant the seeds each year. There also may be some annual varieties to try.
Snapdragons are native to the Mediterranean area and do quite well in a dry climate. While they will need extra watering, they can survive if their soil becomes dry between watering.
However, a dry climate is ideal because snapdragons are prone to rot and mold. Having a drier climate can eliminate many of these issues.
While a temperate climate can support snapdragons, you will want to make sure the soil is constructed well in order to prevent any pooling of water. Dig up the top six inches of soil and add plenty of organic matter.
Snapdragons will do well in a continental climate and can survive the colder winter temperatures. However, you would do well to find varieties that are more heat-tolerant as the summers can get very hot.
A polar climate does not have enough sunlight or warmth to sustain the growth of snapdragons.
Choosing Snapdragons Seeds
With long stems up to 36 inches high, this is a great variety that will give depth to your garden. The variety is very tolerant to heat and is perfect if you live in an area with hot summers.
Madame Butterfly Snapdragons
The blossoms on this variety are made to be partially open. Their colors are a deep vivid combination of pink, orange, yellow, and red.
Those looking for a dwarf variety of snapdragons will appreciate this one. Only growing to be 8 inches tall, the blooms usually have two colors to them and are great as border plants.
How to Plant Snapdragons Seeds
Snapdragons are perennial flowers but you can start them by seed. It’s best to give them a head start so you can plant them indoors eight weeks before the last frost date in the spring.
You can use seedling pots that have seed substrate as this will give the seeds all the nutrients they need. Place the containers in a warm area that has access to plenty of natural sunlight.
The alternative to starting early in the spring is to actually sow the seeds in the fall. You can plant seeds in well-fertilized soil four weeks before the last frost date.
The seeds should over-winter and will pop up in the spring to bloom in the summer.
Finally, if you don’t want any hassle with seeds, you can also purchase young plants from your local gardening center.
Location and soil conditions
Whether you are transplanting your seedlings or planting snapdragon plants from your gardening center, it’s important to get the area ready. Add organic matter such as compost or decaying leaves to the ground in order to provide the plants with plenty of nutrients.
There should be a layer about six inches deep of mixed soil.
Snapdragons like neutral soil that has a pH level between 6.2 and 7.0. This should be consistent with most home gardens but if you aren’t sure, you can always get a simple soil test to check the levels.
Make sure the area drains well. If the water pools, mix the soil up more and add more organic matter.
Another good option for planting snapdragons is to put them in front gardens or areas that don’t have a fence. Snapdragons are deer resistant and are a great option if you live in a rural area.
Sunlight and Spacing
Even though snapdragons will start to grow in cooler weather, they need full sun. Furthermore, many varieties like warm temperatures so there is a lot of versatility to this plant.
When planting, try to space the snapdragons about one foot apart from each other. This will allow plenty of airflows and prevent many diseases from taking hold.
How to Water Snapdragons
Snapdragons do not need a lot of water, so they are great if you live in a drier area. Generally, you want the soil to feel dry before you water again.
Snapdragons can be susceptible to mold, so water sparingly. Always water near the soil line and not over the top of the foliage to prevent mold from growing.
It’s also best to water in the morning. This way, the water can have all day to be absorbed, whereas if you water it at night it can sit on the foliage and develop rot or even mildew.
How to Grow Snapdragons
While there are some smaller, dwarf varieties of snapdragons, there are many larger varieties that can tower up to three feet tall. In these cases, it’s best to steak them.
You can purchase simply metal wire cages for your snapdragons. You can also grow them against fences and provide a lattice framework.
A great advantage of snapdragons is that they are capable of forming multiple blooms in a single growing season. As the blooms start to fate, you can pinch them off and new blooms will then grow.
After your snapdragons come to life again in the spring and it starts to warm up, you can add a layer of mulch around the plants. This will keep the roots cool but not saturated with water.
Adding mulch is especially important if you have very hot summers. The mulch will protect the roots from burning under hot temperatures.
After your snapdragons bloom, you may see a small seedpod towards the base of the stalk. Inside will be plenty of tiny seeds. You can harvest these seed pods, dry them out, and then plant them the following spring.
If you forget this step, or simply don’t want the extra work, simply leave the seeds. There is a good chance the plant will self-seed and more plants will grow in the area.
Check for disease
As we mentioned, snapdragons are susceptible to rot and mildew. Periodically check the leaves for any sign of disease.
If you see discoloration on the leaves, remove them and dispose of them in the garbage. Never place diseased cuttings in your compost as they can spread to other parts of the garden.
Once the temperatures start to really warm up, your snapdragons will start to die off. After they are done blooming, you can then cut the foliage back.
The following spring the snapdragons will start to grow again and will bloom in late spring or early summer.
How long do snapdragons take to grow?
Snapdragons can be planted by seed in early spring and by summer they will be fully grown and will bloom. As a perennial, snapdragons will continue to grow each year.
What do snapdragons symbolize?
The name snapdragon is pretty unique and there is a lot of symbolism within the flower. Here are three virtues that the snapdragon is supposed to represent.
Snapdragons can grow in some pretty unique places which is why the flower is synonymous with strength and resilience. The flowers do not need amazing soil conditions and they can withstand colder and hotter temperatures than other species of plants.
Even though snapdragons can grow to be fairly tall, they are able to withstand wind and other conditions. With their series of blooms along with the stalks, they are said to look like dragons, hence the name.
While it’s always been commonplace to send flowers to loved ones, giving snapdragons had a more devious nature. Many times men gave snapdragons to their mistresses.
Snapdragons are a gorgeous perennial that makes for an excellent cut flower. The flowers will bloom in late spring and will continue until mid-summer when temperatures start to get hotter. Plant your snapdragon seeds in the spring and you will have lovely flowers to pick in the summer.