Easy to care and abundant blooming: For decades, colorful Snapdragons have been among the most popular summer flowers all over the country. Here are tips for planting and care.

Jan 18, 2021 08:25 pm
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Growth type
  • one year old
Growth height (from)
from 20 cm to 100 cm
Flower color
  • yellow
  • orange
  • red
  • pink
  • white
  • multicolored
Flowering time (month)
  • June to September
Flower shape
  • Spike
  • panicles
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • elliptiques
  • elongated ovate
  • pointed
  • sunny
  • semi-shade
Soil type
  • sandy to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • fresh to moderately humid
ph value
  • neutral to weakly acidic
Lime compatibility
  • sensitive to lime
Nutrient requirements
  • moderately nutritious to nutrient-rich
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • Flowerbeds
  • Bouquets
  • Group planting
  • Planters
  • Rose companion
Garden style
  • cottage garden
  • Flower garden
  • Pot garden
Bee Friendly
bee friendly plant

The Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) is the best known species from the genus of Snapdragons (Antirrhinum), which was formerly a part of the Brownworts family (Scrophulariaceae), but now it is classified in to the plantain family (Plantaginaceae). It comes from the dry Mediterranean areas, where it grows wild in crevices and walls. Since the 15th century, the Snapdragon is cultivated as a garden plant or used as cut flower and is therefore an integral part of the annual summer flower repertoire. In regional parlance, the Snapdragon is also known as "Froschgoscherl", "Kalbsmaul" or "Hundskopf".


The Snapdragon is an annual summer flower and grows like a herb. Depending on the cultivated form, it can reach a height of between 7.87 and 39.37 inches.


The leaves of the Snapdragon are arranged opposite each other and have an egg-shaped to elongated-elliptical shape with a pointed head.

Two-colored Dwarf Snapdragons
Two-colored Dwarf Snapdragons

The Snapdragon flower consists of several individual flowers that grow close together on short stems so that they resemble a spike or panicle. With light pressure, the flower opens like a small mouth. The flower colors range from white to yellow and orange to various red and pink tones. The "lower lip" has a characteristic yellow spot. The popular pastel shades are particularly attractive and two-tone varieties are also available in stores. The Snapdragon flowering period is from June to September.

When pressure is applied to the flower, the Snapdragon opens
When pressure is applied to the flower, the Snapdragon opens
Location and soil

The Snapdragon prefers the warm earth, just the way a lion does. A nutrient-rich garden soil which is not too dry, is poor in lime and which receives full sunlight is ideal, provided it does not heat up too much. Semi-shaded locations can also work. It is important for the leaves dry off quickly after a downpour, therefore the location should be reasonably airy. The substrate should be slightly acidic, therefore Rhododendron-soil works well for planting. The snapdragons grow well even in a good container soil.

Sowing and Planting

Since Snapdragons are annual plants, they have to be sown every year. To get the plants to bloom as early as June, you need to sow the fine seeds in seed trays between January to March. The light-dependent germinators are pressed lightly in the planting soil and the substrate is kept moist. As a cold germinator the seeds and the potting soil need to be first be placed in the refrigerator for a few weeks. The plants need to germinate in a bright place with a room temperature of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Two to three weeks after germination the Snapdragons grows in a colder ambient temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit. The tiny Snapdragons become hardy in a flower bed by mid April.

A well-rooted snapdragon can withstand light night frosts, whereas a fleece cover protects against severe late frosts. It is possible to directly in the flower bed from end of May, however, flowering might get slightly delayed because of this. Plants grown in the greenhouse in the plant nurseries can be placed directly in the flower bed. Depending on a height of the plant, a planting distance of 3.93 to 19.68 inches is recommended. Note: All cultivated forms of Snapdragons tend to overgrow.

Table decoration with Snapdragons
As a cut flower, the Snapdragon adorns summer bouquets, vases and table decorations

To facilitate young plants to branch better, the shoots are initially cut off at a height of 3.93 inches. Later on, regular pruning close to the ground helps to stimulate the Snapdragon's abundant flowering. The Snapdragon need to be fertilized regularly for its lasting bloom. Compost, or a 14-day treatment of flowering plant liquid fertilizer are suitable. If necessary, rainwater poor in lime is used, so that the snapdragon tolerates dry soil better than waterlogged soil. Even then, the soil must not dry out completely.

Note: Tall varieties are unstable — it is a good idea to support them with sticks.

Where to plant

As a summer bloomer, tall and medium-height snapdragons go well in the flower bed with other summer bloomers and shrubs such as Chrysanthemums, Garden cosmos, French marigolds, China asters (Callistephus), Larkspur (Delphinium), Bell flowers (Campanula) or balloon flowers (Platycodon). It is best to reserve entire sections of the bed for a mix of colorful snapdragons. They form colorful beacons in a vibrant garden. Short and dwarf forms are suitable for the rock garden, for flower bed edging or as container and balcony flowers. Taller Snapdragons also work well as cut flowers.

Summer flower bed with Snapdragons
In the summer flower bed, the red Snapdragon appears as a basket of pink flowers

The Snapdragon hybrid groups are graded according to their height: Tall varieties can be anywhere from 23.62 to 39.37 inches, medium-height varieties fall between 15.74 to 23.62 inches and the dwarf forms don’t go beyond 15.74 inches. The hybrid varieties are available in different colors. In specialist nurseries, a mix of flower colors are typically sold as seedlings. Snapdragons ‘Rosella’ is one of the tall forms and enchants with its pink, wide-open flowers. The dwarf variety ‘Twinny Peach’ has a compact growth and is only 9.84 inches high. The apricot-colored flowers of the mini version are double-flowered and can withstand severe weather. Another dwarf variety ‘Bronze Dragon’ captures our attention with its pink and white flowers on almost black-colored leaves. Tip: Anyone looking for a hanging species for hanging baskets and boxes should use the hanging Snapdragons (Antirrhinum pendula).


If you don’t remove the withered inflorescences, the seeds fallen on the ground overwinter in the soil and sprout again the following year. The saplings can then be replanted in early summer. If you want to preserve and propagate the best varieties, you can collect the ripe seed pods about six weeks after flowering, shake out the seeds, store them in a dark and dry place over the winter and sow them in the next spring.

Snapdragon rust
Snapdragon rust shows up on the underside of the leaves
Diseases and pests

As robust as snapdragons are against pests, they can be plagued by fungal diseases. When the snapdragon rust develops: They all colonize the elongated, pointed leaves when they are perpetually moist. Therefore, draughty, open locations are advantageous, where the leaves dry off more quickly after rain. Sulfur-based pesticides help against the fungi. If the Snapdragon remains too wet in the container, root rot can occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do the Snapdragons look like?

The annual summer flowers stand out because of their attractive flowers that occur as individual flowers directly on the shoot. If you squeeze a flower lightly, it opens like a small mouth. You can see a prominent speckle on the underlip. Depending on the type and variety, the flowers are white, pink, yellow, orange or in different tones of pink and red. The summer flowers reach heights of between 7.87 and 39.37 inches.

Are Snapdragons light-dependent germinators?

Yes, Snapdragons are light-dependent germinators. This means if propagation is done by the seeds, they should only be pressed very lightly into the soil. Moreover, they are also.Therefore, you put the seed tray with the seeds in the refrigerator for a few weeks before you let them germinate at around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

When to plant Snapdragons?

Snapdragons can be planted in a flower bed from mid-April.

When do Snapdragons bloom?

Snapdragon blossoms usually open from June to September.

Is the Snapdragon winter-hardy?

The Snapdragons are annual plants and they have to be re-sown every year. If well-rooted, it can withstand light night frosts. However, you should cover the summer flower with a fleece if stronger late frost is expected.