How to Plant and Grow Snapdragon

This classic cool-season annual blooms best during spring and fall.

A classic annual, snapdragons have been grown for generations. This cool-season annual's flowers fit right in with pansies and violas and look good in mixed containers or cut for bouquets. Not only are they appreciated by humans for their bright, cheery colors, but they are also an important nectar plant for bumblebees.

Snapdragons are one of the few flowers that come in almost every color. As a result, they make a great addition to any garden, even in the winter in regions where it doesn't freeze.

Snapdragon Overview

Genus Name Antirrhinum majus
Common Name Snapdragon
Plant Type Annual
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 1 to 3 feet
Width 6 to 18 inches
Flower Color Orange, Pink, Red, White, Yellow
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Fall Bloom, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom, Winter Bloom
Special Features Cut Flowers, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 10, 7, 8, 9
Propagation Seed

Where to Plant Snapdragons

Plant snapdragons in well-draining soil in full sun for the best blooms. Although they can tolerate partial shade, the amount of blooms is reduced. They can also be grown in containers and moved outdoors in the spring. Snapdragons prefer cool temperatures, so they bloom heavily in spring and early summer and slow down in the heat of late summer.

snapdragons flowers
Lynn Karlin.

How and When to Plant Snapdragons

Six to eight weeks before the last average frost date in your area, set out snapdragon transplants about 9 inches apart. After they settle in, pinch the transplants back to two sets of leaves to encourage branching.

Snapdragons are one of the first flowering plants you can set out in spring. These plants stand up to the cold and will keep up a blooming show. Although snapdragons are classified as annuals, they can grow as short-lived perennials in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7-10. Plant snapdragons in early spring in cold climates and in late fall in warmer climates.

Snapdragon Care Tips


For the best show, give snapdragons as much sun as possible but provide shelter from the hot afternoon sun in warmer climates.

Soil and Water

Snapdragons bloom most prolifically in moist, well-draining soil. Immediately after planting, water the plants daily until they are established. After that, if it doesn't rain in your area regularly, provide the plants with about 1 inch of water a week.

Temperature and Humidity

Snapdragons often don't handle summer heat well, especially in Southern climates. In those locations, plan on storing them indoors, as they'll stop blooming in the heat and may not make it through the season outside. Then, once cool fall nights arrive, they can be replanted.


If it seems like the plants aren't growing many more buds, it's sometimes beneficial to cut back the plants and add a dose of 10-10-10 fertilizer. This will kick production into gear for another growth spurt.


Some old-fashioned varieties of snapdragons can be pretty tall, especially those bred for cut-flower production. With large types, give young plants a good pinch to encourage bushy growth and prevent too much flopping due to the snapdragons' height.

Once the plants have put on their first significant set of blooms, keep plants deadheaded to encourage more blooms.

Pests and Problems

Plants are more susceptible to foliar diseases like rust and powdery mildew in the shade, so make sure to space snapdragons properly and keep foliage dry.

Some varieties of snapdragons are valued as cut flowers and are particularly tall. Unless you are growing them for cut flower use, pinch these plants back to prevent them from flopping over.

How to Propagate Snapdragons

Snapdragons can be propagated from cuttings, root division, and seeds. Because snapdragons cross-pollinate freely, seeds taken from a snapdragon may result in plants that don't resemble the parent.


It seems there are always new varieties on the market. Lately, several varieties with variegated foliage, dwarf habits, and improved heat and disease tolerance have been developed (to name a few). There are also new flower forms with interesting patterns, open-face blooms, and double blossoms. Some trailing varieties perfect for containers and climbing walls have been developed.

Types of Snapdragons

Whether it's early spring, late fall, or even midwinter in Southern climates, snapdragons are happy to keep blooming. Here are a few of our favorites.

'Butterfly Bronze' Snapdragon

Butterfly Bronze Snapdragon
Lynn Karlin

Antirrhinum 'Bronze Butterfly' bears open-faced, golden-orange flowers on 3-foot-tall plants. Zones 7-10

'Rocket Red' Snapdragon

Rocket Red Snapdragon
Edward Gohlich

Antirrhinum 'Rocket Red' bears crimson-red flowers on 3-foot-tall stems. Zones 7-10

'Solstice Yellow' Snapdragon

Solstice Yellow Snapdragon
Guy Hurka

Antirrhinum 'Solstice Yellow' bears spikes of golden-yellow flowers on 2-foot-tall plants. Zones 7-10

'Sonnet Pink' Snapdragon

Sonnet Pink Snapdragon
Rick Taylor

Antirrhinum 'Sonnet Pink' bears soft pink flowers on 2-foot-tall plants. Zones 7-10

Snapdragon Companion Plants

Licorice Plant

Limelight licorice plant Helichrysum petiolare
Peter Krumhardt

Elegant, silvery licorice plant is useful to set off flowers in blue, white, purple, and other colors, adding contrast to plantings where you want more than just a mass of green. It's especially good in containers, where you can admire it up close and show off its spreading habit to best effect. Technically a tropical shrub, licorice plant is usually grown as an annual in the United States. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil.


merlin blue morn petunia
Peter Krumhardt

Petunias are failproof favorites for gardeners everywhere. They are vigorous growers and prolific bloomers from midspring through late fall. Color choices are nearly limitless, with some sporting beautiful veining and intriguing colors. Many varieties are sweetly fragrant (sniff blooms in the garden center to be sure.) Some also tout themselves as "weatherproof," which means that the flowers don't close up when water is splashed on them. Wave petunias have made this plant even more popular. Reaching up to 4 feet long, it's great as a groundcover or when cascading from window boxes and pots. All petunias do best and grow more bushy and full if you pinch or cut them back by one-third to two-thirds in midsummer.


salvia farinacea mexican bush sage

There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's an annual salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How tall do snapdragons grow?

    The smallest varieties grow to no more than 15 inches. The tallest reach 48 inches!

  • Do snapdragons come back every year?

    Snapdragons are short-lived garden plants. They don't return in cool areas where the plants are grown as annuals. Even those grown as perennials in warmer regions don't reliably return, although you might see them for another season.

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