Antirrhinum - Snapdragon
DESCRIPTION: These summer-flowering plants are great for garden beds and borders. They are also good for decorating the greenhouse and are grown under glass by florists for cut flowers. They grow wild in North America and Europe and belong to the Foxglove family. Antirrhinum is derived from anti, like, and rhin, nose or snout, which refers to the shape of the flower. Antirrhinums are commonly known as Snapdragons. In mild climates, the common Snapdragon, A. majus, and its varieties are perennial, though they are usually grown as annuals. They can grow into large plants, 2-3 feet high, which start to bloom in late spring and provide a gorgeous display throughout the summer. There is also an Intermediate type, which grows 12-18 inches high, a Tom Thumb variety, which only grow 8-9 inches high, and a Dwarf Bedding type. Hybridists have also developed a very dwarf type named Magic Carpet that is excellent for adding sprays of color in the rock garden.
POTTING: Snapdragons that are to be grown in flowerbeds or borders should be treated as annuals. They need a sunny spot in the garden. The tall or majus varieties should be spaced 18 inches apart, the Intermediate, 10 inches apart, and Tom Thumb varieties, 6 inches apart. The most popular kind is the Intermediate kind. They can be grown in a greenhouse to provide flowers in the winter and early spring. Varieties offered commercially that are best for this purpose are Greenhouse Forcing or Tall Giant Rust Resisting. They come in bronze, red, rose and pink shades, lavender, and white and yellow. Grow them in rich soil in 6- or 7-inch pots or a 4- to 6-inch deep bench. They should be spaced 8-10 inches apart in the bench. Make sure to have good ventilation and light. The temperature should fall to 45 degrees at night and rise during the day to 58-65 degrees. Too much water before they begin really good growth is sometimes a cause of partial failure; equally harmful is excessive dryness, which may happen in very porous soil. As the plants grow, choose 4 or 5 of the strongest growths to keep and cut away the side shoots. Lightly water in a complete fertilizer once a week after the plants are 18 to 24 inches tall. This should be discontinued when the flowers begin to show their colors. They should have some kind of support before they reach 15 inches in height. A few Snapdragons are valued as rock garden plants. They are low, trailing plants that bloom in the summer. They should be set in well-drained, sandy, loamy soil in a dry, sunny place. Under such conditions they have proved hardy and perennial in New York City.
PROPAGATION: Snapdragons for the flowerbeds are usually started from seeds sown in a greenhouse late in January or February that has a 55-60 degree temperature. Flowerpots or flats are drained and filled with seed soil or with finely screened sphagnum moss or vermiculite. They are scattered thinly and covered lightly. Keep glass and brown paper over the seeds and make sure that they are moist so they'll soon germinate. When the seedlings are an inch or so high, they should be pricked out and set 2 inches apart in new flats containing well-drained, light, fertile soil. The temperature should be 45-50 degrees. They need to be hardened off in a cold frame before planting outside, which should be when danger from frost is past. When they're 3 inches high, their tips can be pinched to make them bushy or they can be left untouched. When they are grown in a greenhouse, the seeds can be sown any time from late May to August. Plants from a June sowing, set in their flowering pots or in greenhouse benches filled with soil in September, should provide good spikes of flowers in December and on into spring. The seeds should be sown as recommended above for outdoor plants. Place the containers in the coolest part of the greenhouse. Shade them heavily until they start to sprout, after which they need good lighting. They should be replanted 2-3 inches apart in flats or other shallow containers and grown in a greenhouse or cold frame that has good ventilation. Shade them for the first couple of days after transplanting. When they've grown large enough to almost touch each other, they should be potted individually in 4-inch pots in a friable potting soil that's rich in humus. A 3-inch potful of superphosphate should be mixed in to each bushel of soil. Keep them in a light, airy atmosphere and about a week after potting, pinch the tip of each plant to encourage branching. When the roots have enveloped the ball of potting soil, they are ready to be moved to their flowering stations. In a small greenhouse, or when a variety isn't offered commercially, young plants can be started at any time from cuttings taken from side growths. These root easily in sand. Seedlings are usually more robust and are less likely to suffer from diseases, though.
Majus varieties; Intermediate varieties; Tom Thumb varieties; Dwarf Bedding Antirrhinums; Magic Carpet varieties. These Antirrhinums are ideal for growing as rock garden plants.
A. Asarina (white flowers);
A. glutinosum (yellowish-white flowers);
A. molle (white with a yellow blotch);
A. sempervirens (pink or white).
Double Supreme Hybrid Mix
Plum Blossom Snapdragon
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