Antirrhinum is a genus of plants commonly known as dragon flowers or Snapdragons because of the flowers' fancied resemblance to the face of a dragon that opens and closes its mouth when squeezed or when a bee lands on the curved flower lip. They are native to rocky areas of Europe, the United States, and North Africa. Common garden Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) bloom from April to frost. Grown as a perennial in USDA zones 9-11, this plant is considered an annual in other areas. Six hours or more of sun is what makes this plant bloom well. Dwarf Snapdragons are the most common of the species being 6-10 inches tall and 10-12 inches high. Blooming in colors white, yellow, pink, red, orange, peach, purple and violet. The vibrant colors are a great addition to mass plantings, landscapes, borders, or containers.
It is best to plant Snapdragons after the threat of frost has passed. Choose a location that will get 6 hours of full sun each day. Snapdragons like rich, well-drained moist soil. Space each plant 6-12 inches apart in the garden area. Prior to planting, amend the soil with some compost. Water the plant thoroughly after planting.
After initial planting, it is best to keep the tender plants moist for the first few weeks. Once established, regular watering of one inch per week is recommended. Water near the crown of that plant and avoid getting the foliage wet. For best results, avoid overwatering. Allow the soil to completely dry out in between waterings. A good rule of thumb is if the top one inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
Snapdragons do not require fertilizer when newly planted. It is best to wait until the plant begins to produce flowers before the first application. Use a standard 10-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of flower bed. Water well after application to prevent nitrogen burn, as well as to help the food to reach the roots. During bloom time, fertilize monthly.
Regular pruning of Snapdragons will encourage new growth and help with a longer blooming time. Once blooms have died off, pinch off the spent flower to help with development of new flowers. If you do not deadhead the spent flowers, the Snapdragon will go to seed. As needed, snip off any dead foliage.
Caring For Snapdragons in Pots
Snapdragons can be easily grown in a container. Choose a large container with drainage holes. This plant will require regular watering, but be careful not to overwater it. Snapdragons prefer 6 hours of full sun each day. As the snapdragon flowers die off, pinch off the spent blooms to encourage flower production.