From tiny seed to towering treasure! This beginner-friendly guide shares the magic of growing beautiful snapdragons from seed to bloom. Learn planting tricks, care secrets, & watch your garden blaze with color!
From the first year, I grew snapdragons, I knew they’d be a staple in my gardens.
Have you grown them before?
The bright, colorful flowers resemble the snout of a dragon that add a lot of texture and interest to any garden.
While you can find options at the nursery, it’s best to start snapdragons from seed because there are so many more gorgeous varieties to choose from that are not readily available.
They are deer-resistant, make incredible cut flowers, and give all the cottage garden feels during the growing season.
Learn how to grow, care for, and enjoy snapdragon flowers with these simple tips.
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Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are a popular garden plant known for their showy, brightly colored flowers that bloom in a wide range of hues, including pink, red, purple, yellow, white, and bicolors.
The flowers are distinctive in shape, resembling the face of a dragon with an open mouth and a tongue-like lower petal. Don’t they sound cool?
Snapdragon plants are native to the Mediterranean region but are now widely grown throughout the world.
With a USDA hardiness zone of 7-10, they range in height from 6-36 inches tall, depending on the variety. The plant’s leaves are narrow and pointed, and the flowers bloom in spikes that can reach up to 2 feet long. The blooms can get pretty heavy, so taller varieties may need staking.
General Snapdragons Care
Snapdragons prefer cool weather but can tolerate a light frost. They do best in full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil that is kept moist but not waterlogged.
Snapdragons are often used as ornamental plants in flower beds, borders, and containers. They are also a favorite of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, making them an excellent choice for pollinator gardens.
These deer-resistant plants are also a great addition to cottage gardens and make excellent cut flowers.
When you start shopping around, you’ll see there are several different varieties of snapdragons to choose from with a range of heights. Keep in mind that the tall varieties will need staking as the large flowers add a lot of weight to the plant.
In terms of local availability, I’ve found dwarf varieties at the local nursery but not the taller varieties. As such, I purchase snapdragon seeds from quality growers like
I’ve grown both short and tall plants but I LOVE growing the taller varieties. They look stately and beautiful in the garden. And the snapdragon blooms can’t be rivaled.
Are Snapdragons Perennials or Annuals?
Here in New Jersey, they are grown as annuals. I start mine from seed every year, they bloom in spring, summer, and fall.
They seem to tolerate a light frost but are done shortly after as the temps dip and we get a good freeze.
My Favorite Types of Snapdragons to Grow
I am a HUGE fan of growing Antirrhinum majus. These are the varieties I’m growing this year, and I ordered them all from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
- Madame Butterfly Bronze with White
- Madame Butterfly Rose
- Potomac Pink
- Bridal Pink
- Costa Apricot
- Legend Light Pink
5 Reasons You Should Grow Snapdragons
If you are not already growing snapdragons, you are missing out on the fun and joy of growing them.
Here are five reasons to grow snapdragons in your garden.
Snapdragon Flowers Are Amazing
Antirrhinum majus produce showy, colorful blooms that add visual interest to any garden that can’t be beaten. Not to mention, they make great cut flowers for arrangements too.
The bright snapdragon flowers come in a wide range of colors with a distinctive shape that resembles the face of a dragon.
Their petal shapes add a lot of texture, dimension, and interest while giving all the cottage garden feels to any border.
Snapdragons Have a Long Bloom Season
Snap dragons have a long blooming season, typically from late spring to early fall. With proper care, they can bloom for several months, providing continuous color, and interest in the garden.
Because they prefer cooler temperatures during the growing season, snapdragons produce fewer flowers in the summer. But even still, my snapdragons bloomed. The key to keeping them going during the heat of summer is to keep them well-hydrated.
Snapdragons are Deer-Resistant and Attract Pollinators
If you want to attract more pollinators to your garden, snapdragons are a great flower to include. By planting snapdragons, you can help support local pollinators and promote a healthy ecosystem.
Snapdragon Plants Make Great Cut Flowers
While snap dragons look amazing in the garden, they look even better in flower arrangements. They are cut and come again flowers, so the more you cut, the more flowers you’ll get.
Snapdragons need to be deadheaded anyway, so instead of waiting until the flowers start to brown out in the garden, why not enjoy them in a vase?
During the last growing season, I cut snapdragons spring through fall. So if you are looking for a flower that keeps on giving, Antirrhinum majus is one to grow.
Snap Dragons Are Easy to Grow
Snapdragons are relatively easy to grow and maintain, making them a good choice for novice gardeners or those dipping into the cut flower garden scene.
They are hardy plants that can tolerate cooler temperatures and some drought, and they don’t require a lot of fuss to thrive.
And because they are so easy to grow, they are a staple in my gardens.
Starting Snapdragon Seeds
If you want more options to grow, it’s best to start snapdragons from seed. And they couldn’t be easier to grow either. The seeds germinate with ease, the seedlings are not very fussy, and they transplant well.
Here are the steps for starting snapdragon seeds:
- Snapdragons can be started indoors about 8-10 weeks before the last expected frost in your locality. Use a seed starting tray or small pots with drainage holes filled with a quality organic seed starter mix that is pre-moistened. I start mine under grow lights and have found great success starting them in both my basement and sunroom.
- Sow the seeds on the surface of pre-moistened soil, pressing them lightly into the soil and lightly covering them with vermiculite. Snapdragons need light to germinate, so don’t bury the seeds too deep. Sow only one variety per cell tray as the different plants will germinate at different times.
- Cover seed trays with a clear dome and move them under the grow lights. They do not need a heat mat to germinate. Snapdragons typically germinate within 10-14 days at a temperature of 60-70°F (15-21°C).
- Remove the cover when the seeds start to germinate. It’s OK if they didn’t all germinate, more will grow after the cover is removed.
- Keep soil moist by bottom watering only.
- Before transplanting snapdragon seedlings outdoors, harden them off by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions over a period of 14 days.
- When seedlings are hardened off and ready to plant in the garden, space snapdragon transplants about 6-8 inches apart after the last frost date.
- Water young plants regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. Feed with an organic fish fertilizer for a few weeks and then use a slow-release fertilizer so feeding them is set-and-forget. This will help promote healthy growth and lots of blooms.
Winter Sowing Snapdragon Seeds
Did you know that you can also start snapdragon seeds outdoors too? They are a great cold-tolerant annual that works well with winter sowing.
If you lack indoor growing space or want to try a more low-maintenance approach to starting seeds, head over to my winter sowing guide to get my tips for starting snapdragon seeds outdoors.
Overall, snapdragons care is pretty easy. They don’t need a lot of coddling to keep them happy, healthy, and looking amazing.
Here are some tips.
- Plant snapdragons in a location that receives full sun with well-draining soil.
- As plants grow, pinch them back when they gets about five to six sets of leaves. This means you’ll cut the plant down to roughly the second to the third set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to produce more flowers.
- Water snapdragons deeply once a week, or more often in hot, dry weather. Water the base of plants and avoid watering from above to help prevent fungal diseases.
- Apply a slow-release fertilizer to promote healthy growth and lots of blooms.
- Remove spent flowers regularly by pinching or cutting them off to encourage new growth and blooming. The more you cut the more flowers they will produce.
- If your snapdragons are a taller variety, they may become top-heavy and fall over. Stake them early to provide stem support. There’s nothing worse than spending time growing flowers to watch them fall over after a heavy rain or windstorm. Grow through hoops or trellis netting are great supports for them.
It’s important to note that snapdragons bloom more in cooler temperatures. So in early summer, you may notice snapdragon plants not loving the heat and start slowing down their flower production.
But don’t worry, because they will bounce back when colder temperatures arrive in late summer/early fall.
How to Enjoy Snapdragons as Cut Flowers
Snapdragons make great cut flowers and can last for several days in a bouquet if properly cared for.
Here are some tips for prolonging the life of snapdragons in an arrangement.
- Cut snapdragons in the early morning or later in the day. They should be cut when the flowers are just starting to open. Avoid cutting them in the heat of the day.
- Immediately place snapdragon cuttings in fresh room-temperature water to keep the flowers hydrated before arranging.
- Leave the stems in water for several hours to allow the flowers to condition themselves to life in a cut flower arrangement.
- Remove any leaves that will sit below the waterline to prevent bacteria growth.
- Add flower food to the water to help extend the life of the flowers.
- Keep the bouquet in a cool location away from direct sunlight and heat sources to help the flowers last longer.
And if you need some flower arranging tips, I shared design techniques here.
By following these tips, snapdragons in a bouquet can last for several days, adding color and beauty to your home.
For more information about snapdragons see:
More About Snapdragons
Do you grow snapdragons? If so, do you have a favorite variety? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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Starting Seeds Indoors: A Grow With Me Gardening Series
Want to grow flowers, herbs, or vegetables from seeds this year? Learn how to start seeds indoors with these simple tips and tricks.
And the best part?
You don’t need a greenhouse to do it.
- How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse: An Overview
- Supplies for Starting Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse
- 7 Simple Tips to Getting Organized Before Starting Seeds Indoors
- What You Need to Know About Sowing Seeds Indoors
- 7 Lessons I Learned Starting Seeds Indoors
- What You Need to Know About Hardening Off Plants
- How to Plant a Garden After Starting Seeds Indoors
- 7 Lessons I Learned From Growing a Cut Flower Garden
- How to Keep Fresh Flowers Longer
- How to Arrange Flowers Like a Pro
- Cut Flower Gardening for Beginners
Must-Have Seed Starting Supplies I Use
- Seed Starting Potting Soil
- Seed Trays
- Bottom or Drainage Trays
- Clear Dome Lids
- Grow Lights
- Shelf System for Seedlings
- Heat Mat
- Plant Labels
- Oscillating Fan
- Programmable Timer
- I like to use a good-quality, potting soil, garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting. While I make my own compost, you can easily buy it ready-made for use.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad. If you want to minimize the work and not use repellents, choose plants that are deer-resistant from this list.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use it to get underneath roots and loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I use this organic fertilizer for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- And I use this organic fertilizer for my vegetables and herbs in the potager garden.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- I use these garden snips to deadhead and cut flowers from my gardens.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, if I need to, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue. When using, only apply when pollinators are less active.
- This is my go-to bait for slug and snail problems with my hostas and dahlias.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow-through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
- I use this collapsible bin ALL THE TIME. It is invaluable when working in the beds as it’s light to carry around and folds flat for easy storage.
- Drip irrigation set on a timer is your friend! I love these for my planters, window boxes, and hanging baskets.
- And this four way hose bib allows you to split one spicket into four!
Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!
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Want to learn more about me?
I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.