Snapdragons make excellent cut flowers. Their lovely ruffly blooms make quite the statement, and the flowers have a good vase life. If I could only pick one flower for my cut flower garden, snapdragons would be the one. The best part is you can grow snapdragons from seed easily; you need just a few tips to ensure your snapdragons bloom as profusely as they can all season to keep your vases full.
If this is your first time growing snapdragons, don’t worry; we have all the detailed information you need.
How to grow the best snapdragons in your neighborhood
Snapdragons have tall spikes of beautiful colored flowers that make a dramatic statement in any home garden. These plants are cool climate plants that are perfect for growing in northern climates. Snapdragons are perennial in southern zones with mild winters but usually grow as annuals. They work great in beds and borders. Smaller dwarf snapdragons make excellent edging plants as well. Be sure to plant taller varieties in the back of your borders.
The trick to growing beautiful displays of snapdragons is ensuring these plants have the right environment to thrive. Placement, light, air, water, and soil are the building blocks of creating displays of snapdragons that will make people stop and take notice.
They also make excellent additions to bee gardens and provide a vital source of nectar all season long.
You can grow snapdragons in light and partial shade, but they bloom more profusely in full sun. Plant your baby snapdragon seedlings in a sunny location, and they will reward you with colorful shows all through the garden season.
Snapdragons do not like heavy clay soils, so ensure that the earth is light with good drainage. They want rich soil that is somewhat sandy with rich organic matter. The pH balance of the soil needs to be slightly acidic to alkaline pH 6.5 to 8.
Snapdragons should receive 1/2 to 1 inch of water a week either through rain or watering. A steady level of moisture will promote vigorous blooming. Do not allow the plants to dry out to the point where the leaves wilt.
A spring application of a slow-acting fertilizer will be enough for the snapdragons all season. You can also add an application of fresh compost. A light feeding through foliar spray during the growing season to promote blooming is also beneficial.
Snapdragons from Seed & Planting out seedlings
Sowing Seeds indoors
For early blooms, sow snapdragon seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks in early spring before the last frost date in your area. Flower seeds are large and easy to plant. Sow seeds on the surface of sterilized potting soil. Seeds require the sun to germinate, so provide adequate lighting. Snapdragon seeds will germinate in 10-14 days.
Harden off snapdragon seedlings for two weeks before planting them out after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed. They are a tough plant and can handle a light frost.
Space snapdragons 6-12 inches apart. Avoid planting too close to keep good air circulation around the plants.
Direct Seeding Snapdragons
Plant snapdragon seeds outside in loose, rich soil. Don’t cover the seeds, as snapdragon seeds won’t germinate without light. Water as needed to keep the soil evenly moist, but be careful not to overwater.
When I direct sow outside I am very liberal with my seeds. When plants start to take hold I thin out my snapdragons to allow for 3-6 inches in between plants. I transplant the plants I removed into containers for the patio, or add to my borders.
Snapdragon Care For Better Flowering and Longer Life Span
Pinching Back for More Blooms
Pinch the young plants back a month after being placed in the garden. Pinching out will encourage branching and bushier plants with more flowers. It will delay blooming by a few weeks, but the increased flowering makes up for the downtime.
Remove the Seed Heads
Snapdragons will die if their seed heads are not cut off, so be sure to remove spent flowers. When the hotter temperature of summer rolls around and the snapdragons stop blooming, cut them back by 50% to encourage an additional bloom during late summer and or early fall.
Tall snapdragons will require staking to prevent them from falling over. The taller cultivars of snapdragons have brittle stems; they will break and die if they fall over.
Save the Seeds For Next Year
For blooms that were not cut back, dried seed pods can be harvested for planting out the following year. You may even find areas where snapdragons were grown the year before, having new plants growing as volunteers.
Snapdragons do not air dry well, so do not try to twine, bind, and hang them, they will not fare very well through this process, and you will not be happy with the results.
For best drying results, dry in silica gel. Silica gel will help the beautiful little flowers retain much color, shape, and texture.
Check out our post on the best method for drying flowers
Pests That affect Snapdragon Plants
Like all annuals grown in the garden, the snapdragon is susceptible to several pests causing issues with the growth and flowers of the plant. There are ways to combat these pests without losing your displays.
Plants infected with aphids have poor stunted growth with curled, puckered, or stunted leaves. Leaves may turn yellow, brown, or die. Plants can also wilt under direct sunlight.
You can manage the light Infestations of aphids with a blast of forceful water every few days. If that is not effective, you can spray the plants with insecticidal soap every 4-5 days for up to 3 weeks.
Tiny yellow dots are a sure sign that your snapdragons are infested with spider mites. Spider mites are small pests that eat the chlorophyll out of the leaves. Unfortunately, they inject the leaves with toxins (double whammy!), which causes distorted and discolored leaves.
You may also see the plants coated in fine silk webbing either under or over the leaves.
It would be best if you destroyed severely infected plants. Do not add to your compost bin.
Light infestations can be managed with a forceful spray of water, focusing on the underside of the leaves every other day. If that does not work, you can use insecticidal soap every 3-4 days for up to two weeks.
To avoid spreading, avoid touching healthy plants after touching infected plants.
Diseases that impact snapdragons
Several diseases impact snapdragons and cause gardeners headaches, whether you’re growing snapdragons from seed or buying them from a garden center. My best tip for any new gardening just starting is to ensure that your garden stays clean and that debris is disposed of regularly. The debris lying around your garden is where many diseases start, and once they are in your garden, they can be a challenge to get under control.
If leaves become marked with pale yellow-green or grey blotches surrounded by brown margins, you have Anthracnose. The petals of infected plants will develop abnormally, and seriously infected plants will die. You can use cultural controls to fight back against Anthracnose. Please pick up and destroy any infected leaves as soon as you find them. Be sure to keep the garden clean and remove any debris. Remove the entire plant and the soil-grown in for seriously infected plants and do not compost. Instead, wrap the infected plant in a plastic bag and dispose of or burn it.
Be sure any garden tools you used to cut away infected plants with Anthracnose are sterilized before being used and any other plants in your garden.
Snapdragons infected with blight develop round light brown spots on leaves and stems. The spots are ringed with other colors, and black spores develop in the middle. Spots that appear on stems are grayish-black during the onset but rapidly turn dark brown. As the spots enlarge, they eventually surround the stem, and the plants wilt and die.
Weed out and desport seriously infected plants together with the soil where they were growing. Do not compost.
When watering, try to avoid watering from overhead.
Growing Snapdragons from Seed to Flower
Growing snapdragons from seed is a gratifying task. The blooms make excellent cut flowers, and a large display of flowering snapdragons is a sight to behold. I hope you found all the information you need to grow these beautiful plants in your garden this summer. If you do, drop us a line or tag us on social, we would love to see your gardens!