Snapdragons are a type of flowering plant that comes in many different colours. They are native to the Mediterranean region and can be found growing wild on hillsides and rocky outcrops. Snapdragons grow beautiful striking flowers that resemble a dragon’s head that literally opens and closes its mouth when squeezed. After these beautiful blooms have faded it’s important to know how to deadhead snapdragons so they don’t go rogue and start trying to take over your garden! This article will teach you what to do with snapdragons after flowering plus more.
What are Snapdragons?
Snapdragons are actually named Antirrhinum, but they are far more commonly known by their nickname due to their resemblance to the mythical creature the dragon. Much like many members of the plant world, the family of plants that the snapdragon belongs to is still being debated. They used to belong to the family Scrophulariaceae (the same family as the Buddleia) but following DNA research, this has been changed to Plantaginaceae (the plantain family).
How Long do Snapdragons Live?
Although snapdragons are perennials, they are very delicate and do not cope well with extreme cold. This is why in the UK most snapdragons are grown as annuals and planted every year. In warmer climates with the right growing conditions, snapdragons come back year after year (USDA Zones 7-11).
Do You Deadhead Snapdragons?
To extend the flowering season, it is a good idea to deadhead your snapdragons as soon as the blooms begin to fade. The removal of the flowers, once they are spent, will keep your snapdragon blooming throughout the summer. Deadheading snapdragons, once the blooms have faded, will also prevent the plant from going to seed which will take up a lot of its energy supplies which could be better spent on new blooms.
Note: If you wish to collect snapdragon seeds, wait until towards the end of the summer and collect the seedpods that are produced after the last blooms have faded.
How to Deadhead Snapdragons?
To help keep your snapdragons at their fullest potential, deadheading spent blooms as they have begun to fade will keep the fresh new flowers coming.
What You Need
- Clean, sharp secateurs or pruning shears.
1 – Identify Spent Blooms
Examine your snapdragons and look for flowers that are faded, wilted, or past their prime.
2 – Position Your Secateurs
Place your secateurs just beneath the spent flower’s stem, ensuring you’re above the next set of healthy leaves.
3 – Make the Cut
Using a clean, angled motion, snip off the spent bloom. This angled cut reduces the risk of water retention on the cut surface, which can lead to rot.
4 – Address Leggy Growth
If your snapdragon is looking a little leggy and the stems start growing long without any new flowers sprouting up near them, cut off the stem just above where you see the new growth. This may slow down the production of new flowers, but you will be rewarded with vigorous growth.
5 – Add Waste to Your Compost Bin
After deadheading, don’t throw away the spent blooms. Instead, add them to your compost bin. They’ll break down and enrich the compost, providing valuable nutrients for future gardening projects.
6 – Monitor Summer Blooming Patterns
Do not be discouraged if during peak summer the blooms do not open immediately, as soon as it cools a bit, they will be back!
How to Collect Snapdragon Seeds?
Although snapdragons will bloom throughout the summer, it is best to continue deadheading your snapdragons until towards the end of the summer and collect your seeds from the last blooms of the year. Once the blooms have faded, the plant will begin seed production and the seed pods will form where the flowers once were. Collecting the seeds is easy enough to do and great fun for kids – probably because the snapdragon seed pods look like little human skulls. Once the seed pods are completely dry, you will want to give the seed pods a little shake and if you hear/ feel the seeds rattling around, the seeds are ready to go. If not, leave them to dry for another week or 2 and try again.
Once the seed pods are ready, you can just nip them off between your thumb and forefinger. Once collected, you can store the seeds in a cool dry place in an envelope until you are ready to plant them.
After flowering, deadheading is important to keep your blooms looking blooming marvellous throughout the summer. Deadheading is easy to do, and once blooms begin to fade, remove them just above the new leaf growth but don’t forget, if you do want to save some seeds for planting next year, wait until the end of the summer and save the seeds from the last blooming flowers of the year. That way, you can enjoy your snapdragons for as long as possible.
Garden Doctor Tips
“If you live in the UK, snapdragons are best grown as annuals!”
“Deadhead spent blooms as they begin to fade, this could be as often as once or twice per week!”
“Snapdragons like a lot of water so you will need to water regularly through the summer months!”
“These flowers are great for kids; they look like dragons when in bloom and tiny shrunken skulls when they go to seed!”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you keep snapdragons blooming all summer?
To keep your snapdragons blooming all summer, you will need to keep up with the deadheading by removing any spent flowers as soon as they fade. They may stop blooming for a short time if the heat is too extreme but will grow again once it cools.
When should you cut back snapdragons?
In the UK snapdragons are grown as annuals so they do not really need cutting back. Spent blooms should be deadheaded as they fade to extend the blooming season unless you plan to save some seeds for next year.
Are snapdragons full sun or shade?
Snapdragons grow best in full sun although they will tolerate a little shade.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.