As winter-like weather winds down and spring arrives we begin planting our gardens. Early spring is a variable time of the year as it is too cold for most summer annuals, and many perennials and trees and shrubs are still dormant.
Most people think about planting beautiful pansies in the early spring, but there are a few other annuals that will tolerate cooler temperatures as well… My favorite is snapdragons, as they provide a mass of brightly colored, unique blossoms that are sure to liven up your beds or containers.
While chilly night temperatures persist, you must still exercise some caution. They are best planted when night temperatures remain above 50 degrees. If the forecast is for colder nights, cover them with a box or lightweight sheet overnight to protect them.
The name ‘Snapdragon’ stems for the sound that is produced when the flower is squeezed, causing the petal ‘lips’ to open with a snap. The Latin name ‘Antirrhinum’ means ‘nose like’ and refers to the shape of the flower.
A Mediterranean native, the snapdragon produces dozens of brightly colored flowers on long flower stalks. They appreciate lots of sun but will wilt in extreme heat, so best performance is in early spring and fall.
Because snapdragons attract butterflies and especially bees, they are a perfect addition to the pollinator-friendly garden. They also make wonderful cut flowers and may last up to 10 days in a vase.
Snapdragon Lore: It is believed that Snapdragons had powers that offered protection from witchcraft and restored beauty and youth to women.
By Marian Parsley – Annual Department Buyer