Antirrhinums are cheerful annual plants, guaranteed to brighten up borders and containers.
Commonly known as snapdragons, these are easy-to-grow, old-fashioned cottage garden plants, beloved by children and bees. They come in a range of different colours and heights, and therefore can be grown in a variety of situations.
Attractive to wildlife, they have a long flowering period, from June until October. Taller cultivars make good cut flowers and last well over a week in water.
More Grow Guides:
Take a look at our handy antirrhinum Grow Guide, below.
Where to grow snapdragons
Snapdragons will grow in most well-drained, fertile soils in full sun, either in borders or containers.
Sow seeds in autumn, or early spring in a greenhouse or covered tray on a sunny windowsill. Sow seeds thinly on the surface of compost, water and seal in a propagator or clear plastic bag. Transfer seeds when large enough to handle into pots and grow on in a sheltered spot or cold frame. Plant out after danger of frost has passed. Early autumn sowings will produce early flowers in May. Follow our step-by-step guide to growing cut flowers from seed, then watch Monty Don demonstrate how to prick out seedlings.
Grown for their prolific flowers, you can try to persuade your plants to set seed by leaving a few blooms. However, seeds are unlikely to come true to type if sown, but it’s fun to see what does come up.
Snapdragons: problem solving
Plants are usually pest and disease-free.
Caring for snapdragons
To prolong flowering, feed weekly with a potash-rich fertiliser and deadhead spent blooms regularly. Keep plants well watered and support taller varieties with canes if required.
Snapdragon varieties to try
- Snapdragon ‘Royal Bride’ – bears spikes of beautiful pure white flowers that have a delicate fragrance. It’s perfect for growing in a mixed border and makes an excellent cut flower. Its blooms are particularly attractive to bumblebees
- Snapdragon ‘Night and Day’ – has dark foliage and spikes of dark, velvety-crimson flowers with sharply contrasting silvery-white throats
- Snapdragon ‘Twinny Peach’ – is a dwarf variety, with bright yellow and orange flowers with delicately frilled petals. A compact, bushy plant, it is good for growing in containers or using to fill gaps at the front of a sunny border
- Snapdragon ‘Madame Butterfly’ – a very colourful mixed hybrid with long-lasting double blooms