Growing Snapdragons

SnapdragonIn ancient times snapdragons (Antirrhinum Majus) were thought to have supernatural powers and offer protection from witchcraft. They were also believed to restore beauty and youthfulness to women. Growing snapdragons provides months of color ranging from pale pastels to vibrant reds and oranges. They are a favorite flower for cutting and fragrance. Native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean. Plants grow 1-3 feet tall. Self-seeding annual.

Site Preparation:

Snapdragons thrive in the cooler temperatures of late spring and do best in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. Plants will not flourish where temperatures are high for long periods of time. Blooms will tolerate some frost. Under favorable conditions, snapdragons will self-sow in the garden.

How to Plant:

May be grown from cuttings or from seed. If planting from seed, sow indoors on the surface of the soil for 8 weeks before last frost. Seeds will germinate in 10-20 days. For best results, sow in vermiculite and water from below. Plant outdoors after last frost. Pinch back young plants after 4-6 leaves have appeared to encourage a bushy habit and apply an all-purpose organic fertilizer for optimum plant health. Spent flowers should be picked often to encourage more blooms. If blooms become scarce, cut back plants drastically, then feed and water generously. Plants may need to be staked when young.

Tip: A heated seed mat will greatly improve germination success.

Insects and Disease:

Snapdragons will occasionally have problems with aphids and rust. Watch closely, and if problems exist, treat with natural pest controls.

Seed Saving Instructions:

Allow flowers to mature and fade on the plant. Seed pods develop at the base of the flower and turn light tan to brown when mature. Attach a lunch-sized paper bag around it using an elastic or string, catching the seeds as they fall. When the seeds are fully ripe, cut the stem at the base of the plant and shake the seed head inside the bag to dislodge the seeds from the casing.

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