Forget pricey bouquets and grow your own breathtaking snapdragons for vibrant, long-lasting cut flowers. This beginner-friendly guide shares the secrets for starting snapdragon seeds both indoors and out. From choosing varieties to bloom-boosting tips, get ready for a summer overflowing with colorful, homegrown beauty No greenhouse required.

I’ve been growing snapdragons in my cut flower garden for several years now and they have quickly become one of my favorite blooms to grow.

Those stately spikes of color with each blossom resembling a miniature dragon’s mouth comes in a variety of colors, looks amazing in the garden and even better in a bouquet. Have you grown them before?

While you can find some types of snapdragons at the garden nursery, you are better off starting these gorgeous blooms from seed. They are easy to germinate and grow well in my garden, so today, I’m sharing two ways to start snapdragons from seed.

And the best part? We don’t need a greenhouse to start snapdragon seeds.

Wait until you see how easy it is to growing cut-flower snapdragons from scratch!

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Choosing What Types of Snapdragons To Grow

Choosing the right snapdragon for your cut flower garden can be as thrilling as watching those tiny seeds sprout into towering blooms. But with so many varieties boasting different heights, bloom times, and colors, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here are some things to consider when selecting the perfect snapdragon flowers for your garden.

Types of Snapdragon Flowers

When selecting the snapdragons for your cut flower garden, look at their height, how long they flower, and whether they are single or double blooms.

  • Consider Height: Do you want towering spikes in the back of your border, or charming companions for the front? Tall varieties like Rocket and Chantilly reach 2-3 feet, while shorter options like Sonnet stay under 18 inches.
  • Flowering Time: Want blooms all season long? Opt for varieties that can tolerate some summer heat a little better like like Potomac and Madame Butterfly. Keep in mind that snapdragons slow down their bloom production during hot summers but will pick up again in the fall.
  • Single or Double Bloom: Single snapdragons like Chantilly offer graceful lines and easy bee access, while double blooms like Butterfly Bronze pack a dramatic punch of color.

Snapdragon Flower Color

But also, you’ll want to pick a color scheme for your flower garden. Are you going for a soft and soothing monochromatic garden design with a single hue like peach and soft yellow for a cohesive look? Or do you want to mix things up with blends like Rocket Mix or Chantilly Mix for a kaleidoscope of color. Or maybe you want to pair contrasting snapdragon flowers like Madame Butterfly Rose and Costa Apricot.

Snapdragon Seed Selection Tips

When selecting what snapdragons seeds you want to grow, always read the seed packet carefully because it will tell you about sowing, bloom time, height, and any special needs that variety requires. Keep in mind the climate and growing conditions you have. Snapdragon flowers need full sun to grow in moist but well-draining soil.

But the most important thing to remember, is to have fun and try different snapdragon flowers to see what you enjoy growing.

pretty snapdragon flowers bouquet from the cut flower garden with view of cottage garden with gomphrena truffala pink

Two Ways to Start Snapdragon Seeds

And now, the fun part. Starting snapdragon seeds is a rewarding experience that once you start, you’ll want to keep on growing these incredible blooms. There are two ways you can start snapdragon seeds and I’m sharing both with you today: winter sowing outdoors and indoor seed starting.

Winter sowing is a revolutionary technique that lets you get a head start on spring by planting seeds directly outdoors in the heart of winter. It is a low-maintenance method that is perfect for beginners who have never started seeds before because it’s less of a process than starting seeds indoors.

Winter sowing seeds outdoors is a great way to get a jump on the next growing season without sacrificing space indoors to start seeds. Since seeds germinate and grow in the outdoor environment, acclimating plants to the outdoors is a little easier.

In addition to winter sowing, we can also start snapdragon seeds indoors under grow lights. It’s a little more involved than winter sowing but still very easy to do.

Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll have towering snap dragon flowers in no time come spring. Are you ready to get started? Let’s do this!

vibrant snapdragons with organge flowers in cut flower garden - Madame Butterfly with Bronze with white
Snapdragon with orange flowers ‘Madame Butterfly Bronze with White’

How to Start Snapdragon Seeds Using the Winter Sowing Method

Snapdragon are a great cold-tolerant annual that works well with the winter sowing method. If you lack indoor growing space or don’t want to invest in all of the indoor seed starting equipment, this low-maintenance approach is a great option for starting snapdragon seeds.

As a general rule, you don’t want to start winter sowing snapdragon seeds before winter begins (December 21). And with the holidays immediately following that time, to me, January and February are the best times to get started. New year new plants, am I right?

Supplies Needed for Winter Sowing

Sowing seeds outdoors in winter requires much less than doing them inside. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle items from around the house such as milk jugs and rotisserie chicken containers. Thus, winter sowing is very eco-friendly!

Close up of snapdragons in cottage garden

Where to Buy Good Quality Seeds

There are lots of places you can purchase good quality seeds. I prefer ordering from:

Close up of floret flower farm seed packets - How to Start Seeds Indoors Without a Greenhouse

Winter Sowing Containers

The best winter containers for sowing are things that we use every day. Each of these items can be repurposed and recycled as winter sowing containers, so we don’t have to spend a dime on expensive seed starting trays, domes, and grow lights. Here are a few options to save now so you can winter sow seeds later.

  • Chicken rotisserie containers
  • Plastic milk jugs
  • Plastic storage boxes
  • Mixed green salad containers

Regardless of what you choose, you’ll need to make sure they are cleaned and sterilized well before potting and planting them up. I usually try to wash them out with Dawn dish soap and soak them for a few minutes in a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water solution.

And if you don’t have any recycled items to use, grab some peat pots or cell trays filled with soil and you’re good to go!

making hole to drop sweet pea seed in to winter sow

Winter Sowing Snapdragon Seeds Directions

While we are winter sowing seeds outdoors today, you can still start seeds indoors too. Depending on the type of plant you want to grow, it’s not too late to get started.

But wait until you see how easy winter sowing is to do. Once you try this, you’ll want to start more seeds using this method.

  • Gather the supplies.
  • Add drainage holes to the bottom of containers so moisture can drain out.
  • If using a milk jug, cut the jug in half so it can be filled with organic potting soil and planted. Remove nutrition labels from lids or covers so light can reach seeds.
  • Fill the bottoms of containers about halfway with pre-moistened potting soil. (You should be able to make a ball out of the soil without it falling apart.) To keep things neat in my workspace, I used THIS tray to hold the potting soil and THIS tray beneath my containers.
  • Then sow your seeds.
  • Attach the cover and tape it closed.
  • Label the containers well so you know what’s planted.
  • Remove the cap or add a few holes at the top of the container to insure good airflow.
  • Then move to an outdoor location that receives sunlight and rain, but is protected from harsh weather. And if you live in a warmer climate, set them in a shadier spot where they’ll receive moisture but don’t cook in the heat.
  • Check weekly to make sure they are moist.

3 Quick Tips for Winter Sowing

  • Sow one type of seed per container – do not mix varieties.
  • Label well with plant variety and the date sowed. Keep seed packets for easy reference.
  • Check them once a week to make sure containers stay evenly moist.
close up of snapdragons potomac appleblossom, supertunias and celosia
Snapdragons Potomac Appleblossom, Supertunia Fuschia and Coleus

Starting Snapdragon Seeds Indoors Under Grow Lights

I started my snapdragon seeds indoors several years ago and still do it to this day. It’s a great way to get a jump on the growing season and you have more control over their growing conditions.

Must-Have Seed Starting Supplies I Use

If you decide to start seed indoors, it is really important to invest in the proper equipment. Yes you can start seeds in a sunny window but they won’t do nearly as well as they will under grow lights.

DIY seed starting system before Hardening Off Plants After Starting Seeds Indoors - close up of indoor seed starting equipment with seedlings under grow lights

How to Start Snapdragons Seeds Indoors Directions

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 like other seeds do. 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.
  • Thin out seedlings if your sowed more than one seed per cell or pot.
  • 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. Plant in full sun to partial shade in moist but well draining soil.
  • Water young plants regularly from the bottom, 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.

3 Quick Tips for Sowing Seeds Indoors

  • Sow one type of seed per cell tray – do not mix varieties.
  • Label every cell and pot well with plant variety and the date sowed. Keep seed packets for easy reference.
  • You don’t have to sow every seed in the packet for results.
  • Check them often to make sure containers stay evenly moist. Always water from the bottom to avoid damaging delicate seedlings.
madame butterfly bronze snapdragons with soft orange and yellow flowers in the cut flower garden
‘Madame Butterfly Bronze’ Snapdragons

Caring For Snapdragon Seedlings After Germination

Regardless of the method used to start snapdragon seeds, you’ll want to provide the proper care for your snapdragon seedlings so they grow and bloom into beautiful flowers for your cut flower garden. Follow these tips for growing snapdragons from seed to flower.

Pinching Back

Pinching back snapdragon seedlings might seem counterintuitive, but it’s the secret to bushier and branchier plants with a lot more blooms! Snipping off the top two sets of leaves when seedlings have 4-6 true leaves diverts energy to side shoots, creating a stronger, branching structure that can better support an abundance of flowers. Think of it as trading one tall stem for multiple shorter, sturdier ones, each bursting with colorful snapdragon flowers.

Supporting Snapdragon Flowers

Unless you are growing a shorter variety, snapdragons need additional support to keep the blooms upright. Their heavy blooms and branching can make them top-heavy and bendy in the wind. Stakes, cages, or trellis netting can help these floral friends stand tall and reach their full, vibrant potential.

From my experience, I’ve found grow through support hoops to be effective with keeping the blooms upright in a cottage garden setting, but prefer using trellis netting in my cut flower garden because it is more efficient and easier to support them that way.

costa apricot snapdragons with pretty yellow flowers
Snapdragons ‘Costa Apricot’

Planting Snapdragons Seeds FAQs

Are Snapdragons Easy to Grow From Seed?

Snapdragons are very easy to grow from seed. They germinate with ease and are fuss-free seedlings when given the proper care. The most difficult part about sowing snapdragon seeds are the size of the seeds. They are tiny!

Why Are My Snapdragon Seeds Not Germinating?

Keep in mind that it can take 2-4 weeks for seeds to germinate when starting them indoors. My snapdragon seeds on average have taken about two weeks, but I’ve seen them take a little longer. So be patient.

If you hit a month and they still haven’t germinated, are you giving it enough light? A bright sunny window is not enough light for those tiny seeds to grow. Make sure they are getting 14-16 hours of time under the grow lights.

Because the seeds are so tiny, it’s really important not to cover them with soil so they receive the most light for germination. This makes it alot easier to sow those tiny snapdragon seeds!

Snapdragons and larkspur in the cut flower garden
Snapdragons and larkpsur

Do Snapdragons Need Cold Stratification?

While some snapdragon varieties appreciate a bit of chill, not all require cold stratification (a pre-planting treatment that mimics wintery conditions to encourage germination). It primarily depends on the specific type you’re growing and its natural blooming habits.

I’ve been starting snapdragons for several years and have never popped them in the refrigerator to give them a cold boost before sowing seeds indoors. If you start them outdoors using the winter sowing method, they’ll get that cold stratification anyway.

Always check your seed packet for specific sowing directions and see if the grower recommends giving them a cold stratification period.

What Month Do You Plant Snapdragon Seeds?

What month to plant snapdragon seeds primarily depends on the method you are using to sow seeds and when your last frost date is.

For the winter sowing method, I’d start them in January. This will give them the cold stratification period needed to grow for the seeds to germinate outdoors in their mini greenhouses.

If you are sowing them indoors, check your seed packet for the precise sowing time. But most types of snapdragons are started about 8-10 weeks before your last frost date.

close up of snapdragons along a stone wall

More About Starting Snapdragon Seeds

Have you ever started snapdragons from seed before? Will you give it a try this year? I would love to know more in the comments below. For more information about planting and propagating snapdragons, see the University of Florida Cooperative Extension.

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hardening off snapdragon seedlings for the cutting garden
Hardening off snapdragon seedlings on the back porch

Garden Supplies I Use

Since I’ve been gardening for well over twenty-five years, I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites that I use in no particular order.

dahlia kogane fubuki in the potager garden

Click here to shop my favorite garden supplies!

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Stacy Ling

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.

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