Learning How to Grow Snapdragons from seed is easy! A relatively fuss free plant and self-seeder, these pretty, short lived Perennials & Annuals are a wonderfully whimsical addition to any garden.
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Snapdragons are best grown as an annual, they are ideal for cottage gardens, container gardens, balconies and mixed border displays…a very beautiful, yet adaptable flower.
Snapdragon Early History
Snapdragons have a long ancient history, known to have been grown since the rise of the Roman Empire. Their botanical name is ‘Antirrhinum majus. In Greek, the word anti means ‘like,’ while rrhinum means ‘snout’
The Romans and Greeks celebrated the unusual flower and credited it with having magical powers, they believed the Snapdragon had protective powers, powers that would keep evil from their door and shield them from Witchcraft.
During Medieval times, Snapdragons were seen as Castle Guardians and would be planted at the gates of European Castles. Women of the time also believed the Snapdragon to have restorative benefits. They would boil the flower heads and apply the infusion to their faces to keep them youthful and beautiful!
Why are they called snapdragons?
The Snapdragon earned its name thanks to the shape of its flowers. The individual flower heads resemble the snout of a Dragon, they even open and close, mimicking snapping Jaws.
Snapdragon flowers start their bloom from the bottom of the stalk upwards. Snapdragons aren’t fans of too much heat, so you may find they slow down a little mid-Summer when the temperatures are much higher. But, keep on top the watering and they will soon perk up, giving you flowers right up to Autumn
There are so Many! They come in all sizes and varieties, ranging from a few inches tall to ones that would give Foxgloves a run for their money! Here are some links to varieties I recommend…
Snapdragon ‘Circus Clowns’ -One of my favourites, this variety is quite compact and will grow to a height of around 50 cm, they make wonderful cut flowers!
Snapdragon ‘Maximum’ – Maximum by name Maximum by nature these Multi coloured towering blooms reach heights of up to 1 meter!
Snapdragon ‘Royal Bride’ – Pure white elegant beauties reaching around 60cm in Height
Snapdragon ‘Dwarf Tom Thumb’ Colourful blooms perfect for Hanging baskets and containers
How to Grow Snapdragons
Grown fairly easily from seed Snapdragons can be started indoors several weeks before the last frost, here is how I sow mine…
How To Sow Snapdragon Seeds
This can be done in Autumn or Spring, I tend to mostly sow mine in Spring.
For Autumn Sowings (Sow September-October) For Spring Sowings (February- April)
Snapdragon seeds need light to germinate so do not cover them with compost. Sow the seeds on the surface of damp compost, place on a sunny windowsill and cover with a propagator lid or Cling Wrap, remove once the seedlings appear.
Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick out and pot on into individual pots or modules. They can be planted out once all danger of frost has passed. Be sure to harden the young plants off first.
What Does Hardening Off Mean?
Plants raised indoors or in a greenhouse environment, need to be acclimatised to cooler temperatures and increased air movement for about two to three weeks before they are planted outdoors permanently . This is a ‘toughening up’ practice to prepare the plants for their new environment.
How to Harden Off
Place your plants out for a couple of hours in a shady part of the garden. The next day, leave them out again for two hours, but this time allow the plants an hour of direct sunshine in the morning. Gradually continue to increase the length of time the plants are in direct sunshine over the course of roughly two weeks.
Where to Plant Snapdragons
Snapdragons do their best in rich, well-draining soil in a sunny spot. However, they will also tolerate part-shade.
Pinching Out Snapdragons
I Like to ‘Pinch’ out my Snapdragons, this process helps create a less spindly but bushier plant! Once your Snapdragon seedlings are around 10 cm tall, pinch off the growing tip. This will encourage the plant to branch out…More Branches=More Flowers!
Water Requirements for Snapdragons
Snapdragons will need frequent watering. Keep young seedlings moist for the first few weeks. Once they are established water well once a week, more so during periods of drought. Try to water at the base of the plant, rather than above.
Keep on top of the deadheading for repeat blooms. Removing Spent flowers will encourage the plant to produce more blooms, keeping you in Snapdragons until late Autumn.
Do Snapdragons Self Seed?
Yes, Annual varieties however may not bloom as robustly as they did the previous year. Which is why I like to sow a fresh batch each year, to grow alongside the self seeded blooms.
Want to Grow Snapdragons in Pots?
If you wish to grow Snapdragons in pots, pick a fairly large pot- a large pot will prevent the Snapdragons from drying out too quickly. Place the Pot in a sunny position and water well once a week, more so during periods of drought.
Snapdragons Vase Life
Pick Snapdragons when only a few of the bottom flowers on the stem have opened, this makes for a longer vase life of around 7-14 days.