Snapdragon Flowers: Caring and Growing Vibrant Blooms in Your Garden

Many have childhood memories of opening the snapdragon flower's jaws and make them talk.

By: THURSD. | 24-05-2023 | 9 min read
Outdoor Plants

Antirrhinum Majus, commonly known as snapdragons, is a captivating flowering plant valued for its striking appearance and versatility, both as a garden flower and as a cut flower. Originating from the Mediterranean region, snapdragons are a member of the Plantaginaceae family and exhibit a fascinating range of colors, including red, pink, purple, yellow, orange, and white. Keep reading this article to get to know more about the snapdragon plant.

What is Antirrhinum Majus aka the Snapdragon Flower?

Antirrhinum Majus has become one of the more popular and contemporary flowers these days. Create a lush bouquet and see the snapdragon flower turning into the beaming center of your bouquet. Fancied because of their resemblance to a dragon's face that opens and closes its mouth when laterally squeezed, Antirrhinum is here to win you over. But also as an outdoor plant snapdragon is a perfect choice to have a lively garden.



As a garden flower, the snapdragon flower adds charm and vibrancy to a variety of garden settings, from borders and beds to containers and window boxes. These lovely plants are also attractive to pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, contributing to a thriving garden ecosystem.

They make exceptional cut flowers as well, bringing their vivid colors and unique shapes indoors. Antirrhinum, also known as snapdragon flowers or dragon flowers, is perfect for adding that wild touch to any bouquet or arrangement. The long, static yet lively flowers can be used easily in different lengths to create that free and strong look. Here is everything you need to know about this gorgeous flower.


Antirrhinum Majus Bouquet
Photo by @floramereflowers

The Snapdragon Origin

Antirrhinum is derived from the rocky areas of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Usually, the term snapdragon plant is used for the larger plants in the antirrhinum family, which is the snapdragon botanical name. In the wild, Antirrhinum loves a sunny place in calcareous soil. It loves this soil so much, that you should not be surprised to see a snapdragon flower nestled in the cracks of an old wall or growing in a quarry.

This extraordinary flower attracts the attention of botanists: for hundreds of years, Antirrhinum has been cultivated. This flower used to be found mainly in monastery gardens. The stem of the Antirrhinum can reach a height of about 80 centimeters. The flowers grow in a bunch along the end of the stem. Cultivated species can have a big variety of colors. From pure white to yellow with tiny pink dots, or maybe peach-pink is your favorite!


Antirrhinum Majus of Snapdragon Flower Double
Antirrhinum Majus Double Azalea Bronze Fragrant.
Photo by @camilliabloomsbury.


Are Snapdragons Perennials?

Snapdragons are technically classified as short-lived perennials or tender perennials. However, they are often grown as annuals in many climates, especially in colder regions where they may not survive the winter.

In milder climates snapdragons can sometimes overwinter and grow as perennials, re-blooming for two or more years. They may die back in the winter but can regrow from the roots in the spring. To increase the chances of making the snapdragons perennials, it's essential to provide proper care, such as appropriate watering, deadheading spent blooms, and applying a layer of mulch to protect the roots during colder months.

In colder climates, snapdragons are annual and are replaced each year. However, they can self-seed and produce new plants the following year if the conditions are favorable.

Regardless of whether snapdragons are annuals or perennials, they are popular flowering plants that add color and interest to gardens, borders, and containers. They are available in various heights, colors, and forms, making them a versatile addition to many garden designs.


Snapdragon Flowers in the Field


Some of the Most Popular Snapdragon Types for Your Garden

There are numerous varieties of snapdragons available, each with their own unique characteristics. Here are five popular snapdragon varieties, although it's important to note that popularity can vary by region and personal preference:

Rocket snapdragons: The Rocket series features tall, sturdy plants. They have large, closely-packed flower spikes in various colors, such as red, pink, yellow, white, and purple. Rocket snapdragons are great for adding height and structure to the back of flower beds and borders.

Sonnet snapdragons: The Sonnet series is a popular mid-sized snapdragon variety. They produce dense flower spikes in a range of colors, including pink, red, yellow, white, and purple. The compact size of Sonnet snapdragons makes them well-suited for containers, borders, and mass plantings.

Liberty snapdragons: The Liberty series are another mid-sized variety. They are known for their long-lasting blooms in a range of colors and their ability to perform well under a variety of weather conditions. Liberty snapdragons work well in flower beds, borders, and containers.

Twinny snapdragons: The Twinny series are characterized by their unique double or "butterfly" blooms, which give the appearance of two flowers fused together. They are available in shades of peach, pink, rose, yellow, and white. Twinny snapdragons are well-suited for containers, garden borders, and mixed plantings.

Potomac snapdragons: The Potomac snapdragon is known for its strong, straight stems and dense flower spikes, making it an excellent choice for cut flower production. This type of snapdragon comes in a wide range of colors like white, lavender, orange, and many more... 

When choosing snapdragon varieties for your garden, consider factors such as the available space, desired plant height, color preferences, and growing conditions. Many snapdragon types are available, so you can find the perfect plants to suit your specific needs and preferences.


Snapdragons in the Greenhouse
Photo by @highcroftnurseries


What Is the Snapdragon Flower Meaning?

In Ancient Greek Antirrhinum, the snapdragon flower literally means "like a nose", possibly referring to the nose-like capsule in its mature state. The opinions of which (mythical) animal this nose-shape is from varies: In English, the name, of course, refers to a dragon, but in most languages, the snapdragon translates to "lion’s mouth".

The snapdragon flower holds various meanings and symbolism in different cultures and contexts. Some of the most common snapdragon meanings associated with snapdragons include graciousness, strength, deception, mystery and magic, and protection.
Snapdragons are often seen as a symbol of graciousness and elegance due to their delicate, unique blooms and the way they stand tall and proud. With their sturdy stems and ability to thrive, they also represent strength, resilience, and determination.
The snapdragon's unique flower shape, resembling a dragon's head with an opening mouth when gently squeezed, has led to associations with deception or concealment. In some contexts, one snapdragon meaning relates to hiding one's true intentions or feelings.
And the intriguing appearance of snapdragon flowers, along with their wide range of vibrant colors, has given them an air of mystery and magic in some cultural and folkloric contexts. Snapdragon flower possesses protective qualities and they ward off evil spirits or negative energy.

When giving snapdragons as a gift or using them in floral arrangements, these meanings can add depth and significance to the gesture. The specific snapdragon flower meaning conveyed may also depend on the color of the flowers, with each hue carrying its own symbolism, such as red for passion, yellow for friendship, or white for purity.

How to Care for Snapdragons?

When caring for snapdragons you need to have various aspects into consideration if you want to see your plant thriving. These are the main guidelines on how to take proper care of snapdragon flowers and to reassure that you have beautiful flowers in your garden. 

How Often to Water Snapdragons?

Snapdragons prefer consistently moist soil but do not tolerate soggy conditions. The frequency of watering depends on factors such as weather, soil type, and plant size. As a general guideline, water snapdragons once or twice a week, ensuring the soil remains moist but not waterlogged.

To determine when to water your snapdragons, check the soil moisture by inserting your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it's time to water. If the soil is still moist, wait a day or two before checking again. In hot or dry conditions, snapdragons may need more frequent watering, while in cooler or wetter conditions, they may require less.

When watering snapdragons, it's best to water deeply, allowing the moisture to reach the root zone. Avoid wetting the foliage, as this can lead to fungal diseases. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are ideal for providing consistent moisture to your snapdragons while minimizing water waste and keeping the foliage dry.


Snapdragon Flower Arrangement

Snapdragon Light Requirements

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) thrive in full sun to partial shade. They prefer at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day for optimal growth and flowering. However, in hot climates or during periods of intense heat, snapdragons appreciate some afternoon shade to protect them from excessive heat stress. Providing the right balance of sunlight helps ensure healthy growth, vibrant colors, and abundant blooms. Make sure to choose a location in your garden that meets these snapdragon light requirements to give yours the best chance for success.

Snapdragon Temperature Range

Snapdragons plants are versatile plants that can tolerate a wide temperature range. They grow best in moderate temperatures, ideally between 60-75°F (15-24°C) during the day and 40-55°F (4-13°C) at night. Antirrhinum Majus can withstand light frosts and cooler temperatures, making them suitable for early spring and fall planting in many regions. However, in hot climates, snapdragon flowers may struggle with intense heat and may require some protection or shade during the hottest part of the day. While they can adapt to various conditions, maintaining a moderate temperature range will promote healthy growth and abundant flowering in snapdragons.

How to Grow Snapdragons?

Growing snapdragons from seed: you can start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost or directly sow them outdoors after the risk of frost has passed. Space plants according to the specific variety, generally 6-12 inches apart. Keep the soil consistently moist but avoid overwatering, as soggy soil can lead to root rot. Allow the soil surface to dry slightly between waterings. Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer at planting time, and use a liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season to promote healthy growth and blooms. Pinch back the tips of young plants to encourage branching and bushier growth. Regularly remove spent blooms to prolong flowering and maintain a tidy appearance. Everybody will love your snapdragon flower garden.

Colors and Variations of Snapdragons

As mentioned before, Antirrhinum comes in a variety of colors. A great example of a beautiful Antirrhinum from our product archives is the Antirrhinum Potomac™ Early White. This strong-growing snapdragon with ivory white petals and just a hint of lemon sorbet throat make a wonderful addition to multicolored and monochromatic mixed bouquets.

Potomac is ideal for production during periods of high light, long days, and warm temperatures. Plants produce tall, strong stems and long spikes with good flower quality for excellent retail show and vase life. Can be grown year-round with supplemental high-intensity lighting.


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