Snapdragons
Press or “snap” the sides of snapdragon flowers and the “mouth” in the middle opens.
George Weigel

The snapdragon is a versatile annual named for its dragon-face shaped flowers which appear to “talk” when the sides of the flower are pressed or “snapped.” One of its main assets is that it can survive temperatures into the low 20’s (Fahrenheit). This has made it one of the few early-spring flowers sold for planting before the last frost, as well as a top choice for growing over winter in frost-free zones.

Snapdragons come in a wide range of colors, from pastel pinks and lavender, to bright red and yellow. They’re available in heights as small as 6 inches to nearly 3 feet tall, though the taller varieties commonly require staking to keep the flower spikes from leaning.

Snapdragon
Snapdragons produce flower spikes that can be anywhere from 6 inches to 3 feet tall, depending on variety.
iStock/Thinkstock

Tips for Growing Snapdragons

  • Plant several weeks before the last spring frost in the North and Midwest and in the fall in the South and Southwest in an area that gets full-sun or partial shade.
  • Work compost and a fertilizer rich in natural and organic nutrients such as Natural Start by Greenview All Purpose Plant Food into the loosened soil when planting. Then fertilize again every 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Keep plants watered when hot/dry weather hits, and snip off browned flowers to encourage continuing bloom.
  • In Zones 8 and warmer, don’t pull plants if cold weather appears to kill them, just snip off dead top growth and watch for new growth in spring. Snapdragon roots sometimes overwinter to grow again another year, acting as a perennial flower.