When you were a kid, did your Mom ever gather you and your friends around the flowerbed to squeeze snapdragon flowers and make them talk? Besides having child-charming blossoms, snapdragons are one of the most versatile bedding plants a gardener can grow. Snapdragons come in a variety of colors from frosty white, to yellow bi-colors, to shades of pink and deepest burgundy. With heights ranging from a mere 4 inches to nearly 4 feet, they can find the perfect spot in any landscape plan.
Snaps are best suited in the South as cool-season annuals. Their tolerance for frost and occasional freezing temperatures makes them the darlings of the winter flower garden. Paired with foxgloves, pansies, herbs, hollyhocks and larkspur, snapdragons provide southern gardeners with the closest thing to an English cottage garden they can grow. In a mixed container planted with pansies and other cool season annuals, use taller varieties of snapdragons, like 'Rocket' or 'Sonnet' to add height, and the trailing types, such as 'Luminaire' or 'Royal Carpet' to spill dramatically over the sides. In the butterfly garden, snaps attract buckeyes and other butterflies seeking nectar, and then serve double duty as excellent cut flowers for the home. Plant snaps from transplants in fall for winter and early spring bloom.
Snapdragons flower best in full sun. Light afternoon shade is needed in warmer parts of the region. After transplanting, give them plenty of water until they are established?about 2 weeks. Also, water thoroughly during dry spells. Snapdragons are easy to grow from seed, too. In the lower south, sow them in fall directly where you want them to flower. Snaps require well-drained soil amended with compost or other organic matter, such as Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil. Help them retain moisture and discourage competition from weeds with a layer of mulch, such as Scotts® Nature Scapes® mulch. Cut back their first flowers to encourage bushy growth, and remove spent blossoms regularly to promote continued flowering.
All parts of the snapdragon plant are poisonous and should not be ingested. Children should be supervised around them and cautioned against playing with "dragons".
Snapdragons languish in hot weather. As summer temperatures warm up, flowering will be noticeably decreased. At this point, the plants can be cut back several inches and coaxed through the heat until cooler weather arrives again. Or you can remove them to make room for summer annuals and add fresh plants in the fall. Snapdragons are susceptible to fungal "rust". They're also sometimes attacked by aphids during warm weather, and small caterpillars can eat holes in the flower buds. You can control these pests and rust with Ortho® Elementals® 3-in-1 Rose & Flower Care.