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 the bumblebee.
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Snapdragons are one of the few flowers that come in almost every color. They make a great addition to any garden and come in a wide variety of colors so fit most color schemes, even in the winter in regions where it doesn't freeze.
Snapdragon Care Must-Knows
Snapdragons are one of the first flowering plants you can set out in spring. These plants are tough in the cold and will keep up a blooming show. Whether it's early spring, late fall, or even midwinter in Southern climates, snapdragons are happy to keep blooming.
Related: Best Purple Flowers for Your Garden
While these plants are more than happy to deal with the cold, they often don't handle summer heat well, especially in Southern climates. In this case, plan on storing them indoors, as they will stop blooming in summer heat and may not make it through the stress of the summer. Once cool fall nights arrive, they can be happily replanted.
For the best show, give them as much sun as possible. But when heat sets in, provide shelter from the hot afternoon sun. Plants are more susceptible to foliar diseases like rusts and powdery mildew in shade, so make sure to space plants properly and keep foliage dry.
Some of the old-fashioned varieties of snapdragons can get large, especially varieties bred for cut-flower production. With large types, be sure to give young plants a good pinch to encourage bushy growth and prevent too much flopping.
Once the plants have put on their first major set of blooms, keep plants deadheaded to encourage more blooms. If it seems like the plants aren't growing many more buds, it is sometimes beneficial to cut back the plants and add a dose of fertilizer. This will kick production into gear for another growth spurt.
It seems there are always new varieties on the market. Lately, a slew of varieties with variegated foliage, dwarf habits, improved heat and disease tolerance have been developed (just to name a few). There are also new flower forms with interesting patterns, open-face blooms, and double blossoms.
More Varieties of Snapdragon
'Butterfly Bronze' snapdragon
Antirrhinum 'Bronze Butterfly' bears open-faced, golden-orange flowers on 3-foot-tall plants. Zones 7-10
'Rocket Red' snapdragon
Antirrhinum 'Rocket Red' bears crimson-red flowers on 3-foot-tall stems. Zones 7-10
'Solstice Yellow' snapdragon
Antirrhinum 'Solstice Yellow' bears spikes of golden-yellow flowers on 2-foot-tall plants. Zones 7-10
Snapdragon Companion Plants
Elegant, silvery licorice plant is so useful to set off flowers in blue, white, purple, and other colors and to add 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.
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- to two-thirds in midsummer.
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.