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Party Hardy Annuals- Snapdragon

In gardens across the land, snapdragon antirrhinum majus is the ol’ reliable when it comes to cut flowers. This hardy annual ticks all the boxes for a quality, hardy cut flower: It has a distinct scent, is a “cut and come again” cultivar, it's available in a myriad of colors and lasts for months in the field. In zones 7 and warmer, snapdragons grow as short lived perennials. Here in Northeast Ohio we are below that (zones 5/6). Yet, if we have a mild winter, or if your snaps are slightly sheltered, you have a chance of them coming back. Some people go so far as to plant their snapdragons in a pot and move them to the garage to winter them over. I don’t. Seeds are cheap and garage space is usually taken up by toys, farm equipment or Farmer Jeff (sometimes all three!). Although it is questionable if they will perennialize, it is almost always a guarantee that your snaps will self-seed.

Snapdragon seeds come in loads of different varieties. It is important that you find a nice, tall variety for cutting. Common cut flower varieties are Chantilly, Madame Butterfly and Rocket. Most of the plants in your local nurseries are shorter (or even trailing) varieties, so chances are you’ll have to start your cut flowers from seed.

Snaps are easy to start from seed as they require light for germination, so you can just press them into the soil. Or just get your soil wet and sprinkle them on top. They also prefer cooler soil. So you don’t need any fancy shmancy grow mats to get them started. As with everything else, we winter sow our snaps and they come up without a problem. Pinching out your seedlings when they have 3 sets of leaves is supposed to encourage branching. To be honest, I pinched half of mine out last year and didn’t see much of a difference in production. Their long stems appreciate a support trellis but are strong enough to get on without. Last season I grew them without and only about 2% grew off kilter. An affordable cost compared to dealing with plastic netting if you ask me...

Snapdragons for arrangements are in the “spike” category. They’ll add height and depth to an otherwise round bouquet. Snaps are unique in that most spike varieties (larkspur, delphinium, foxgloves) are biennials or need the dreaded cold stratification. So if you find

yourself in the middle of May needing some spiky sophistication, you can sow up a batch of these babies quickly to get you through fall. They will bloom right on into October for you. Snaps also blend well with a variety of different flowers. They bring class to wildflower bouquets and can hold their own when paired with some of the most exquisite dahlias.

Don’t forget to tag us in your favorite snapdragon photos on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I love to see what you all are growing!

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