Antirrhinum majus, or Common Snapdragon, is an erect perennial that is treated as an annual in colder areas and is native to the Mediterranean region. Plants usually reach a height of 2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 m) in containers and the landscape. Some plants can attain a height of up to 6 feet (1.8 m) if planted in the landscape. Leaves are lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate to 3 inches (7.6 cm) long. There are many fancy and Latin named cultivars available, classified by size and color groupings. Snapdragons have a long been used in gardens and in the cut flower industry. They are easy plants to grow, whether in container or in the landscape. Plants are hardy in USDA zone 9-11 and should be treated as annuals in all other regions.
Blooming Time: Flowers are borne in terminal racemes and will bloom in most areas from late spring into fall. In warmer areas, they bloom in the spring and again in the fall (zone 7). Individual flowers reach from 1.5-2 inches (3.8-5.1 cm) long. When in flower they are very showy.
Culture: Antirrhinum majus needs full sun to light shade, with a moist, well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand. Plants are kept moist at all times and are fertilized weekly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the strength recommended on the label. We grow these primarily during the winter months in the greenhouse. It gets way too hot in the summer months for them to look good and flower in temperatures above 90°F (32°C) here in Oklahoma. Although the plants do continue to grow, they just don't flower well in high temperatures. Once plants start blooming in fall, the fertilizer and water regime continues and we add supplemental lighting to keep them blooming all winter long. If grown in the landscape, the fall is a great time to collect some seeds for the next generation. Plants do reseed themselves in milder areas and are perennial in warmer climates.
Propagation: Antirrhinum majus or Common Snapdragons are propagated from cutting or division of large clumps and by seed. In colder climates, start seeds indoors 6 weeks before the last frost. Seeds germinate in as little as 10-12 days.
Antirrhinum majus was featured as Plant of the Week February 12-18, 2010.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.