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Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around.
Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color.
Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often will be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.
Shown above: 'Rocket Red' snapdragon
The silvery foliage of licorice plant looks good with just about every flower, especially dark red snapdragons.Petunia
Snapdragons come in about as many colors as petunias, so it's easy to find varieties that look great together.Salvia
Another old-fashioned favorite, salvia produces spikes of brightly colored flowers that make a perfect complement to snapdragons.