Common Name: snapdragon
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Native Range: China, United States
Zone: 7 to 10
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to frost
Bloom Description: White, yellow, pink, red, orange, peach, purple plus bicolor
Sun: Full sun
Suggested Use: Annual
Attracts: Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Short-lived tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10. In St. Louis, it is usually grown as an annual. It is easily grown in moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun. Avoid overhead watering. Start seeds indoors 6-10 weeks before last frost date or purchase starter plants. Set out plants/seedlings after last frost date. Pinch stem tips of young plants to promote bushiness and prevent leggy growth. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong bloom. If flowering slows drastically after the first flush of bloom, consider cutting plants back hard and fertilizing. Although well-mulched plants in protected locations may overwinter in St. Louis and although cuttings may be taken in fall for overwintering, snapdragons are inexpensive plants that are perhaps best repurchased each spring. Nurseries commonly sell plants in cell/six packs. Always purchase fungal resistant plants/seeds. Snapdragons, like pansies, are often planted in fall south of USDA Zone 7 where they will not only survive the winter, but will bloom as long as temperatures stay above freezing.
Snapdragons are old garden favorites that, in optimum cool summer growing conditions, will flower well from spring to fall. In climates with protracted hot summer weather, plants often tend to languish and may not last the entire growing season. The common name is in reference to the dragon-shaped, tubular, two-lipped, closed flowers that appear in terminal racemes. Many cultivars and hybrids in which A. majus is a prominent parent are available in commerce. Flowers come in a variety of both pastel shades and bright colors, including some bicolors, in shades of white, yellow, red, pink, orange, peach and purple. Lance shaped, glossy dark green leaves (to 3” long). Cultivars and hybrids generally are classified into three groups based upon height: dwarf plants (8-12” tall), intermediate plants (12-24” tall) and tall plants (24-36” tall).
Rust can be a significant problem. If rust does appear in a planting, it is best to grow snapdragons in another part of the garden the following year. Also susceptible to mold, fungal leaf spots, downy mildew, wilt and root rots. Watch for aphids. Tall plants may need support when young until such time as they bush out.
Dwarf varieties are best for beds, border fronts, edgings, window boxes and other containers. Intermediate varieties are best for bedding and mixed borders. Tall plants are best for borders and cutting gardens.