Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) is a Mediterranean native that became popular in Victorian-era gardens. Since that time, snapdragon has been developed in to a variety of hybrids in sizes ranging from 6 inches to upward of 3 feet and in every colour except blue. A cool-season annual, snapdragon has two bloom periods in most areas of the United States.
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Blooms from Seed
Snapdragons are generally started in a greenhouse setting because of their slow time to bloom from seed. Sowing directly in the garden may result in the gardener having to wait until the snapdragon's fall bloom period for flowers because they require 13 to 15 weeks to bloom from seed. Inexpensive annuals, many people choose to purchase snapdragons that have already been started and are flowering or well on their way.
In most areas of the United States, the snapdragon will experience two bloom seasons. They will bloom in the spring and then again in the fall. This is because snapdragons are highly sensitive to temperature, blooms stop forming around 26.7 degrees Celsius.
First-year snapdragons will overwinter in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 7 with cover and can be grown as a short-lived perennial reliably in these areas. They will set new blooms in spring and fall and self-sow once established. In other areas within USDA hardiness zones 4 through 11, snapdragons are generally grown as annuals.
Encouraging New Blooms
Snapdragons can be encouraged to set more blooms by deadheading as each flower fades. Pinching the young plant back encourages additional flower spike development. In addition to these management techniques, many gardeners cut the entire plant back by one-third to two-thirds after the spring bloom is over to encourage new growth.
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