How To Grow And Care For Snapdragons

Snapdragons are an easy-to-grow annual flower that’s widely used in home gardening. They have a multitude of uses, from mixed border gardens to flower boxes to patio containers.

The flower is called ‘pincushion’ because it’s shaped like the crown of a pin cushion. It’s also called’snouted’, and the whole plant is called ‘dragon’s tongue’.

Snapdragons were named for their snappy, snapping sound when they’re snapped closed, which is made by the leaves’ alternate, lanceolate, lobed leaves arranged in a spiral around the stem.

Springtime is when the flowers bloom. The plants flower at the bottom of the stem, making for an extremely long bloom period and lasting well into the fall. Snapdragons tend to slow down and quit blooming in heat of summer, but if you keep them watered and give them a few fertilizing sprays in the spring.

Snapdragons come in many varieties and sizes, from a few inches tall to spires that are several feet high. There are dwarf varieties and tall varieties, and just about everything in between.

These plants are great for containers, baskets, and for planting in garden wall crevices. You can grow them from seed germination to bloom in two to three months, so snapdragons are often started indoors many weeks before the last winter frost.

Snapdragon Care

Snapdragon Care. Snapdragon plants are rather slow growing when planted from seeds, so they’re usually planted from purchased nursery seedlings, which are widely sold in economical six packs. They can also be grown from seeds started indoors weeks before the last frost.

Snapdragons will thrive in rich, well-draining soil in a sunny location. They don’t like full shade. Pinching off the stems will encourage more branches and the plant will bush out over time. Deadheading the spent flowers extends the bloom season.

Snapdragons have the longest blooming time of any perennial, and when it’s in your garden, you’ll always see a lot of beautiful blossoms throughout the summer and into the fall.

The perennial plant that produces only one flower per year is called a one-flower perennial. Usually, you should expect to see a seed pod from the plant in the second year. If you are lucky, it will grow to be self-sowing in the garden.

How Grow Snapdragons from Seed

How To Grow Snapdragons From Seed. In milder climates, snapdragons can be planted in late fall. They can also be sown in the garden a few weeks before the last expected frost.

As mentioned earlier, snapdragons are relatively slow growing, but when grown from seeds, they’re usually started indoors six to twelve weeks before the last expected frost.

This is a very simple trick that will make your potting soil stay fresh and retain moisture longer. Place the tray under a bright, indirect light and water only when the soil dries out a bit.

You don’t need to start your seedlings outside before your last frost date. Pinch off the top of the seedling when it has developed six true leaves, or you can cut the seedling off at ground level. Transplant snapdragons outdoors a few weeks before your last frost date.

Snapdragons are very hardy, they’ll take a light frost, but if the temperatures go below freezing you might want to cover them with something to protect them from the cold.


Spring bulbs. Although you have to wait until the last weeks of May for the perennials to become established, the short-lived spring bulbs will start to show their flowers and foliage in April and May. By July, the seedpods should have formed and been blown away by the wind.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Rust fungus can be a problem with snapdragons. However, if it appears in a planting, it’s best to grow snapdragons in another part of the garden the following year. Snapdragons are also susceptible to fungal leaf spots, downy mildew, wilt, and root rots.

The aphid and spider mite pests are the most common pest problems, which may require the use of pesticides or horticultural oils in severe infestations.

How to Get Snapdragon to Bloom

To get a Snapdragon to bloom you have to start it when it’s young and small, let it grow bigger, and then water and fertilize it regularly, keeping it cool.

If you want to get your snapdragons to bloom, the right amount of sunlight is the secret sauce. Whether they’re full sun or part shade, if you adjust how much sun your plants get, you’ll know when to deadhead them.

Common Problems With Snapdragon

There are lots of common problems with Snapdragon. They’re bright and cheerful, and add beauty and character to the summer garden. But sometimes, snapdragons have problems that are easy to fix.


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