Snapdragons are named for the shape of the flowers. Each blossom appears to have an open mouth, much like a snapping jaw. These flowers will keep the garden colourful and attractive even as the cooler weather sets in. Their blooms begin at the bottom of the stalk and travel up the plant, making them an appealing choice for borders and backgrounds alike. Parents with young children or pets who like to eat plants should bear in mind that all parts of the snapdragon plant are poisonous and should never be ingested.
Varieties of Snapdragons
Snapdragons come in a range of colours including white, burgundy, yellow, pink, red, bronze and orange. Choose from brightly and bold colours or soft, gentle pastels to add interest to your landscape. Tall varieties may grow up to nearly one meter tall and should be planted roughly 30 cm apart. Be prepared to stake the taller plants to keep them upright and healthy. Dwarf varieties can grow up to 15 cm and should be planted about 15 cm apart. These plants can tolerate cold temperatures as low as -30 C, making them the ideal choice for gardens in cooler regions.
These colorful plants love the sun and will do best in a location that provides them with plenty of rays. Soil should be well-drained because they don’t like having wet feet. Finally, these colourful sprays of flowers are not attractive to deer, making them the perfect choice for areas where deer tend to nibble.
Place the tall varieties in the back of the flowerbed for interest and an added touch of colour. Shorter varieties are excellent choices for borders, edgings, along walkways and anyplace where a short, colourful flower is called for.
These plants are also fine additions to garden planters and the dwarf variety will work nicely in hanging baskets, mixed in with some other flowers. Pair them with bushy perennials, such as Bleeding Heart or Columbine for landcaping that always has something to offer.
Planting Tips for Snapdragons
Lazy gardeners love snapdragons because they don’t require a great deal of work when planting. The seeds can be tossed into the garden in late fall or even winter. Hardy and strong, the seeds can even be tossed right over the snow and most will still germinate and grow when spring arrives.
Many gardeners, however, choose to start their snapdragons indoors about two months before the last anticipated frost. The seeds simply need to be pushed into the soil and given light in order to grow.
Once seedlings have emerged and have developed six leaves, the top of the stem should be pinched off. This will encourage a fuller plant with more branching. Snapdragons are unaffected by late season frost and so can be transferred to the garden earlier than other flowers.
These lovely flowers require some judicious pruning and basic care if they will continue blooming throughout the growing season.
- Clip the top stem and then trim away any long shoots on the sides to encourage more flowers and a
- Encourage the plants to bloom again by clipping them shorter. If your snapdragons seem to have stopped producing blooms, trim the height down. Remove anywhere from 1/3 to ½ of the top of the plant and it will revive and reward you with more blooms.
- The plants should be watered regularly for the first few weeks after planting. After the first month, plan on providing them with one inch of water per week.
- Apply water near the crown, and avoid over-watering established plants.
- Spent blooms should be removed to allow new ones to grow.
These beautiful flowers are not only cold-weather resistant and easy to plant; they are also extremely healthy and resistant to most pests. Wet seasons can present problems with fungus growing on the plants, but keeping them in beds that are well-drained will help prevent this. Whether you are looking for a bright, colourful flower to place in the back of a bed or to grace a walkway, snapdragons are an excellent choice for their season-long colour, variety of size and easy care.
Photo source: JamesCanby