How to grow & care for snapdragons
Snapdragons are bright and cheerful flowering plants that grow in most climates. If you live in a region with heavy frosts, snapdragons are best grown as annuals - replanted each year in late winter or spring. In more subtropical climates snapdragons are best grown as annuals in the cooler months - away from the extreme heat and humidity of summer. In moderate climates with mild winters and summers snapdragons may survive and flower year round, lasting many seasons.
Snapdragons get their name from their dragon head-shaped flowers that can be pinched on the sides to get their little “mouths” to snap open and closed. Their bright flowers make brilliant cut flowers and they’ll happily grow in garden beds, pots or hanging baskets.
Top 5 steps to growing snapdragons
- Choose a full sun spot in a rich, free draining soil
- Snapdragons can be grown from seeds or potted plants easily
- Snapdragons dislike heavy frosts and continually warm, wet weather. If your region experiences these conditions grow snapdragons as annuals in your mildest months.
- Fertilise with Scotts Osmocote All Purpose Controlled Release Fertiliser in spring
- Pinch off dead flowers to encourage a bushy plant and more blooms
- Snapdragon plants or seeds
- Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Roses, Gardenias & Azaleas Plant Food & Soil Improver
- Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver
- Garden shovel
- Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray
- Defender Snail & Slug Pellets
- If growing in pots, you’ll need: Scotts Osmocote Premium Potting Mix + Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser: Roses, Gardenias, Azaleas & Camellias and a suitable pot or container
- If growing from seeds, you’ll need: Scotts Osmocote Seed & Cutting Potting Mix and suitable clean pots or punnets.
Preparation & Planting in the garden
Snapdragons prefer a full sun spot in a well drained soil that's been enriched with plenty of compost.
Prepare the site for planting snapdragons by mixing a little Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver through the original soil - use a garden shovel to turn it through the top 10cm.
Gently remove the snapdragon from the nursery pot or punnet and tease the roots lightly if they are compact. Snapdragon in punnets may contain multiple seedlings, so separate out the individual plants before planting.
Plant your snapdragons into the prepared soil at the recommended spacing and backfill around each. Water in well and mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Growing from seed
Snapdragons can be grown from seeds sown directly or in punnets. As snapdragon seeds can be slow to germinate (2 weeks or more) - starting them indoors in punnets can help.
To start snapdragons from seeds indoors - sparingly sow seed into pots or punnets filled with Scotts Osmocote Seed & Cutting Potting Mix. Lightly cover with more potting mix and keep the soil moist and warm while they germinate.
Germination can take up to 2 weeks. Thin out and remove any weak seedlings and once they reach 5-10cm tall they can be transplanted into larger pots to grow on or planted into your garden.
Planting in pots
Snapdragons can be grown in small to medium pots or planters (at least 20cm wide and deep) with good drainage.
Fill your pot or planter with Scotts Osmocote Premium Potting Mix. Gently remove the snapdragon from the nursery pot and tease the roots lightly if they are compact or separate out the individual plants if they are growing in punnets. Plant the snapdragons - as per the labels recommended spacing - into the potting mix and backfill around the plant. Water in well and top the soil with mulch to retain moisture.
Fertilising & Care
Snapdragons will benefit from Scotts Osmocote Compost Premium Soil Improver mixed through the soil before planting and a dose of fertiliser in spring and autumn. Fertilise using Scotts Osmocote Plus Organics Roses, Gardenias & Azaleas Plant Food & Soil Improver for in-ground snapdragons or for potted snapdragons use Scotts Osmocote Controlled Release Fertiliser: Roses, Gardenias, Azaleas & Camellias.
Deadhead snapdragons during their flowering period to encourage bushy plants and more flowers.
Pests & Diseases
Aphids can sometimes cause a problem on snapdragons new growth - spray any infestations with Defender Pyrethrum Insect Spray if needed.
Slugs and Snails can cause significant damage to young snapdragon seedlings. Protect young plants by setting beer traps (saucers filled with beer) amongst seedlings or use Defender Snail & Slug Pellets.