Your Guide to Growing Snapdragons at Home
If you're looking for an easy way to add some depth to your flower garden, consider adding a few snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) into the mix. The tall flowers come in a variety of shades ranging from white to bright red, and they can reach up to four feet in height, making them an easy choice if you're looking to incorporate some dimension into your flower beds. As an added bonus, snapdragons are a beautiful choice for adding dimension to cut arrangements, so they'll look as good inside your home as they do outside. Best of all, snapdragons are fairly easy to grow, especially when you follow these tried and true tips from our experts.
Where to Find Snapdragons
You can find snapdragons at most places where plants are sold, according to Justin Hancock, a horticultural craftsman with Monrovia. "If you prefer shopping from your sofa, you can also order seeds or young snapdragon plants from nurseries that sell and ship them online." It doesn't matter if you go the seed route or buy ones that are already sprouting as long as you're starting early. However, if you're hoping to add a bright spot to your garden quickly, you'll want to buy more mature plants. "It can take snapdragons two or three months (or more) before they bloom when you grow them [from] seed," he says. "When you buy plants from your local garden center, they're often in bloom or budded up and about ready to bloom so you get instant impact."
Where to Plant Them
You should try and get your snapdragons into the ground early, according to Adrienne R. Roethling, director of curation and mission delivery at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden. But before you do, make sure you're going to plant them in a spot with the right conditions. "They prefer growing in full sun and they need good drainage," she says. You can plant your snapdragons directly in the ground or add them to pots.
If you plant them in the ground, they may eventually go to seed and come back the following year, giving you a second round of blooms for your money—this will only happen if you live somewhere with mild winters, though. "Here in the South, we can plant them in fall where they will stay until next spring," she says. "I've left the seeds to have them come back on their own." Snapdragons are pretty hardy and will do well in average soil, which means you don't need to add much to them to get them to reach their full potential. However, if you want to give your flowers a boost, Handcock suggests compost, since the flowers are fond of organic matter. "Adding in some compost when you plant—especially if your soil has a high sand or clay content—can make them happier," he adds.
Troubleshooting Your Blooms
If you discover that your snapdragons aren't faring too well where you have planted them, the type of light they are getting may be to blame. "Snapdragons grow and bloom best in all-day direct sun," Hancock says. "You can enjoy them in a spot with some morning shade and afternoon sun, though they may not bloom quite as much." They prefer moist, well-drained soil (that means watering as the top inch or so of soil dries to the touch). Be sure to plant them somewhere that won't stay wet or soggy after you water them or after a rainy period.
If your problem is that the blooms have slowed down, Hancock says it may be the heat. "Most Snapdragons do best in cool weather (though some newer varieties have better heat tolerance)," he explains. "If you live in an especially hot-summer area, don't be alarmed if your Snapdragons slow down or stop blooming when temperatures rise. They should go back to blooming when it cools again in autumn."