Growing And Caring For Snapdragons

Growing And Caring For Snapdragons

Emma DowneyByEmma Downey
Updated on 8/13/2022

Since snapdragons only remain healthy for a few years after being planted in a garden, they are often grown as annuals rather than perennials. On the other hand, they are exceptionally well-liked as garden perennials. They are an essential element of classic flower gardens. They have many uses, such as mixed border gardens, flower boxes, and patio pots, to mention a few of the many possibilities. The common name originates from the appearance of the individual flower heads, which are shaped like a dragon's snout and even open and close with a snapping motion, similar to when pollinators open their jaws to access the pollen in flower. That is how the flower heads got their name. Because of this, the flower heads are also known as flower heads.


The plant's leaves, which have an alternate arrangement and are in the shape of lanceolate blades, are spiraled around the plant's central stem. The flower is known by its scientific name, Antirrhinum majus, which translates to "like a snout." they chose this name because of its unique appearance. The flower has been given its name because it is said to resemble either a calf's snout or a dragon's nose. Bumblebees and other more prominent bee species are more effective in pollinating snapdragons. That is because honeybees and other species of smaller bees cannot open the "jaws" of the flower that snapdragons have.

During the months when the temperature is more relaxed, there is an abundance of blooming snapdragons, which have colors that are pretty intense (nearly every hue). These flowers are sure to steal the show in your garden, whether you plant them in the spring or the fall. Because the flowering process starts from the bottom of the stalk and goes up to the top, there is a more extended period during which the flowers remain in bloom. Snapdragons have a propensity to cease flowering and slow down during the warmest part of the summer; if you continue to water them, they will perk up and assist carry your garden into the fall, even if they tend to do so during this time of year.

There are various varieties of snapdragons, each of which has its own distinctive look and height range, which can vary from a few inches to more than four feet. Some kinds are on the shorter side, types on the taller side, and types that lie halfway in between. In addition, there is a wide variety of different kinds. Snapdragons have been the subject of experimentation by breeders for years, and as a result, there are now even trailing and creeping types that can purchase. These are great plants to use as filler material in pots and baskets and the cracks and crevices of garden walls. You can use them anywhere you would use moss or rocks.


Because it can take snapdragon seeds anywhere from two to three months to germinate and mature into flowers, the plants are typically planted indoors a few weeks before the last likelihood of frost in the winter. That allows the plants to avoid any potential damage from the cold.

  • The common names for this plant include toad's mouth, lion's mouth, dog's mouth, and sandpiper.
  • Botanical Name: Antirrhinum majus
  • Family: Plantaginaceae
  • Herbaceous perennials are the type of plant in question (usually grown as an annual)
  • Mature Size: 6–48 in. broad (depends on variety), 6–12 in. across
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun, part shade
  • Type of soil: fertile, wet, and free-draining
  • Soil pH: 6.2–7.0 (slightly acidic to neutral)
  • Bloom Time: Spring through fall, with a possible lull in activity around the middle of summer
  • White, yellow, pink, red, orange, peach, purple, and violet are the colors of the flowers.
  • USDA Hardiness Zones 7–11; cultivated as annuals everywhere else.
  • Native habitats include the Mediterranean region of Europe, Syria, and Turkey.

Snapdragon Care

Since growing snapdragons from seeds result in a sluggish growth rate, the flowers are often grown from nursery seedlings purchased instead, who may acquire these seedlings in convenient and cost-effective six-packs. They may also be produced relatively simply from seeds planted inside a few weeks before the last frost of winter.

Although they may survive in dappled shade, snapdragons thrive in deep, fertile, and free-draining soil. Sunlight is essential for optimal growth. By pinching off the stem ends of immature plants, you may make them thicker and bushier. Additionally, you can extend the bloom season by deadheading the flowers that have already bloomed, frequently up until the first frost in the late fall or early winter. Even though snapdragons can bloom during the growing season, they show their most outstanding performance in the spring and fall when the weather is cooler. They bloom continuously throughout the summer in regions with lower average temperatures, whereas in areas with higher average temperatures, they may flower through the winter.


These perennials have a short life span and are typically treated as annuals cultivated in gardens. Snapdragons, even if they survive the winter, don't seem to be able to produce blooms that are as strong as the ones they created in their first year. They should develop seed pods in the first year; if you're lucky, they may even self-sow in the garden. However, they will die after the first year if you don't do anything.

Things You Need to Be Aware Of Before Attempting to Cultivate Snapdragons


Your snapdragons will produce the most flowers when exposed to whole light to a combination of full sun and moderate shade. Once the temperature begins to rise, there is a possibility that they will no longer blossom at all. They are more likely to bloom once again in the fall if you plant them in a location that receives partial shade and ensures adequate water during the summer.


The ideal growing conditions for snapdragons are soil with a pH range of 6.2 to 7.0, abundant in nutrients, and free of excess moisture. They are not heavy feeders because they are short-lived plants, but adding organic matter will help keep them healthy and flowering, so they can continue to produce flowers.


To produce healthy flowers, snapdragons require a proper amount of water. Maintain a moist environment for the seedlings during their first several weeks. After it has been established, a snapdragon requires around 1 inch of water to be added to its soil every week, even with rainfall.

Snapdragons flower

If you want your snapdragon to remain healthy, you should water it towards the crown of the plant and stay away from soaking it from above. Once the plant has been established, please wait until the top inch of soil has dried completely before giving it more water.

Temperature And Relative Humidity In The Area

The USDA hardiness zones 7-11 are suitable for growing snapdragons, perennials with a fragile appearance. Snapdragons, on the other hand, thrive in environments where the temperatures range from the low 40s to the low 70s Fahrenheit during the night and from the low 60s to the low 70s Fahrenheit during the day. As a result, they are typically cultivated as annuals to produce color in the garden throughout the season's more temperate times of spring and fall.

Snapdragons can endure temperatures below zero if they have been well established in their bed and have toughened off. They may live for a goodly amount of time and can take pretty low temperatures as long as the chill is there. As long as you ensure they receive adequate watering during the cold spells and apply a layer of pine straw mulch.

Before being transplanted into the garden, seedlings grown inside require a period of "hardening off," typically lasting between ten and fourteen days.


When the plants begin to produce blossoms, it is the appropriate time to apply fertilizer. Apply three pounds of an essential, well-balanced all-purpose fertilizer such as a 10-10-10 product to a flowerbed that is one hundred square feet in size at a rate of three pounds per square foot. Properly watering the plant will reduce the likelihood of it suffering from nitrogen burns and will also assist the fertilizer in penetrating the plant's root system.

Types Of Snapdragon

Although seeds and seedlings of snapdragons are most commonly found in mixed-color mixes, it is possible to come across specific colors on occasion. Snapdragons are typically marketed in packs containing a variety of hues. Named varieties are phased out every few years, but some of the most iconic series include the following:

  • Rocket series: This is a highly reliable multi-colored series that grows to around two to three feet and is known as the Rocket series. It is an essential component of the assortment for those in the garden center.
  • The Madame Butterfly mix consists of plants that can grow to 24 to 30 inches and produce ruffled flowers in various hues. These flowers are an ideal choice for use in cut-flower arrangements.
  • Tutti Frutti is a small series that ranges from 10 to 12 inches in height and features distinctive flowers with spotted and striped patterns.

Types Of Snapdragon

  • Candy Tops mix consists of plants between 6 and 8 inches in height with solid colors of yellow, orange, white, red, and rose. They are instrumental as border plants and plants for bedding.
  • Chandelier mix is one of the greatest trailing and hanging snapdragons, and it has blooms that can be purple, pink, or yellow.

Propagating Snapdragons

You may get snapdragons quickly by growing them from seeds, but if you like, you can also propagate them by clipping stems from existing plants. In nurseries, you may acquire seedlings of snapdragons for a price that is not excessively expensive, and growing snapdragons from their seeds is a very straightforward process.

Take a section of the plant's stem about approximately 2 inches in length and cut it just below a leaf node on a plant serving as a healthy parent plant. Remove the leaves at the bottom of the cutting, and then submerge the bottom of the cutting in rooting hormone. It would help if you planted the cutting in seed starting mix or potting soil. It would help if you then covered the container with a plastic bag or a dome to ensure that the cutting is exposed to an atmosphere that is sufficiently humid for it to flourish after the plant has produced a robust root system; who can remove the cover and continue the plant to grow in a bright window or under artificial illumination. You should bring the plants outside after it is anticipated that the final frost has passed in your location.

How To Germinate And Grow A Snapdragon From Its Seed

It is feasible to overwinter snapdragons in somewhat mild places; all necessary is to distribute the seeds on the garden's ground in the late fall. They may also be planted directly into the soil in the garden a few weeks before the last frost that is expected to occur. This method requires a bit more preparation. However, because snapdragons develop at a very sluggish rate, it is common practice to begin growing them from seeds between six and twelve weeks before the final frost is forecasted to occur. That is done so the plants will be ready to be transplanted outside once the frost danger has passed.

You may start seeds in standard potting soil or a generic seed starting mix by simply pushing the seeds onto the earth's surface.  You can do that in any soil. Because germination of snapdragon seeds is dependent on light, the tray should be positioned such that it is immediately beneath bright lights that are hanging only a few inches above the tray. That will ensure that the seeds receive the necessary amount of light. The light should be left on for 16 hours each day, and as the seedlings get more extensive, you should raise the height of the light gradually. Who should keep the morning at a temperature of around 65 degrees Fahrenheit?

A Snapdragon From Its Seed

When the seedlings have grown roughly six true leaves and are around 3 to 4 inches tall, pinch off the top of the stem to encourage branching and bushiness. It would help if you did this immediately after the seedlings have formed their first true leaves. This step has to be taken as soon as the seedlings have started, around six leaves that may be considered accurate. When you are sure that the place in which you live has had its final frost, you should move your snapdragons outside into their permanent planting spots. If there is a slight frost or two, snapdragons can endure them.


Since their brief lifespans, these perennials are grown as annuals in gardens because they are easier to care for. Even if a snapdragon makes it through the winter, it does not appear that it will be able to produce flowers that are as robust as the ones it grew in its first year. That is the case even if it does survive the winter. They should have seed pods by the end of the first year, and if you're lucky, they'll even sow themselves in the garden and produce more of the same plant. On the other hand, if you do nothing at all to help them, they will perish after the first year.

Common Pests And Plant Diseases

There is a possibility that rust fungus will provide a significant obstacle when it comes to snapdragons.

1 If rust does appear in a specific planting, it is advised that snapdragons be cultivated in a new garden section the following year. That is because rust spreads quickly from one plant to another. Mold, fungal leaf spots, downy mildew, wilt, and root rots are some of the other diseases that have the potential to affect this plant. 

Common Pests And Plant Diseases

The most common bug problems are aphids and spider mites, and depending on the degree of the infestation, they may require the use of pesticides or horticultural oils. Aphids and spider mites are the most common insect problems.

How To Bring About Flowering With The Snapdragons

One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the snapdragon is the brilliant coloration of its blossoms. They start to bloom in the very early part of spring and continue to do so throughout the entire season. They have a short lifespan, act more similarly to annuals than their perennial counterparts, and do not often produce blossoms for more than one season at a time.

It is possible to coax your snapdragons into flowering by varying the amount of sunshine they are exposed to daily, from complete exposure to some degree of partial shading. Your plants may be exposed to anywhere from full sun to some degree of partial shade, depending on the amount of sunlight available. As long as you remove the flowers from your plant that is starting to wither and die, it will continue to produce a generous quantity of blossoms for you to enjoy.

Typical Issues With Snapdragons

When it comes to appropriate flowers for warm weather, snapdragons are a time-honored option that will never become unpopular. They are cheery and joyful additions to the summer months and ones that you will remember for a considerable time after they have passed. On the other hand, snapdragons are prone to several problems that are relatively straightforward to fix:

Typical Issues With Snapdragons

Wilting Leaves, Fewer Flowers

Snapdragons will begin to see a decline in their overall health if they are subjected to excessive heat and sunlight. Move the plants to a more relaxed spot with more shade, then trim them. Doing so will encourage the growth of fresh blossoms and limit the time they spend looking wilted.

Yellow And Brown Flecks On The Leaves

The emergence of yellow specks on the leaves is the first sign of snapdragon rust, which is brought on by a fungus that frequently attacks snapdragons. This condition is produced by a fungus that usually affects snapdragons. After some time has passed, these yellow specks could get darker and more prominent, eventually acquiring brown or black centers. Prevention of the development of snapdragon rust is the most effective treatment method for this disease. It would be best if you cut back on the number of plants you have so that there will be more space for air to circulate through the plants. In addition to this, you shouldn't water your snapdragons in the evening since this might cause them to wilt.

Plants Toppling Over

Taller varieties of snapdragons have a greater risk of becoming top-heavy and falling over in these domains; they can quickly solve the problem by supporting the plants to guarantee that they continue to develop in an upright position during the duration of the treatment. That is because gloomy environments encourage the plant to produce long, skinny stems.


Is It Simple To Take Care Of A Snapdragon?

Yes! Your snapdragons will do well if they are provided with the appropriate amount of moisture.

How Quickly Go Snapdragons Mature Into Adulthood?

As a result of their rapid development, snapdragons may be grown from seedlings in the spring and reach their maximum size by the middle of the summer.


How Long May The Life Expectancy Of A Snapdragon Be?

As perennials, snapdragons live for around three years after being planted.

There are many different types of snapdragons, and each kind has its unique appearance and a height range that may range anywhere from a few inches to more than four feet. Some types are on the shorter end of the spectrum, others on the taller end of the spectrum, and those that lay somewhere in the middle. In addition, there is substantial diversity among the many sorts. Breeders have been experimenting with different kinds of Snapdragons for many years, and as a consequence, you can now buy trailing and creeping varieties of this flower. These are excellent plants to use as material for filler in pots and baskets and in the cracks and crevices of garden walls. You may use them in situations where moss or rocks would be appropriate.

Breeders have been experimenting with different sorts of Snapdragons for many years, and as a consequence, you can now buy trailing and creeping varieties of this flower. These are excellent plants to use as material for filler in pots and baskets and in the cracks and crevices of garden walls. You may use them in situations where moss or rocks would be appropriate.