Pruning Snapdragons

Grown as short-lived perennials or flowering annuals, snapdragons require little pruning. The most frequent pruning maintenance needed for snapdragons is deadheading, or trimming back spent flower stalks. When flowers are spent and the heat of summer has arrived, snapdragons can be cut back more aggressively to allow the plant to rest and rejuvenate for fall growth. 

When to Prune Snapdragons

The best time to deadhead snapdragons for maintenance pruning is when the flower stalks are spent while the plant is actively blooming in spring and early summer. If snapdragon flowers are not deadheaded after the blooms are spent, the plant will go to seed or complete its lifecycle and will not continue to produce flowers. Deadheading promotes longer blooming periods. Pruning the plant back to just a few inches above the ground can be done later into summer after your snapdragons have been blooming continuously. 

Another time to prune or better yet, pinch your snapdragons is when they are small seedlings. Pinching back your seedlings tips will promote a bushier habit when the plant matures with more flower stalks versus just one central leader. 

Why Prune Snapdragons

Pruning is a low-key maintenance task that will both tidy the look of your garden and encourage the health of your plants. Deadheading is a regular garden task that eliminates spent blooms while promoting new growth and new blooms. Deadheading will prolong the flowering period of your snapdragons. 

When the summer heat sets in and your snapdragons are no longer putting on new growth, a more aggressive cut back will also clean up your garden making room for summer flowers. Summer snapdragon cut backs also allow your snapdragons time to rejuvenate and prepare for a hopeful late summer to fall blooming to happen. 

How to Prune Snapdragons

Step 1Pinch snapdragon center seedling stem tips about an inch or so, just above the next set of true leaves to promote bushier plants

Step 2 – Deadhead spent flowers with clean pruners by cutting back the flower stalk down just above where you see new growth or buds

Step 3 – Continue deadheading regularly

Step 4 – Cut back snapdragons back down to the ground when all flowers are spent

Step 5 – Keep watering trimmed plant to encourage fall growth and flowers

Snapdragon Pruning Tips

  • Deadhead spent flowers regularly
  • Pinch seedlings to encourage bushy habit
  • Cut back to the ground mid summer to encourage fall growth