Snapdragons are tall beautiful flowers that are wonderful for cutting and come in a variety of colors. Yet they are usually grown in cooler climates, most of which are not well suited for South Florida. There are however certain hybrids of snapdragons that do quite well here and will produce blooms for a long season. You just need to know the right ones to grow.
The first thing you need to know about growing snapdragons in our area is that the tall ones never do well here. Tall varieties of snapdragons need cool temperatures for a long time to reach their heights of up to 4 feet. This is something we cannot provide for them, even in our coolest winters. However, dwarf and trailing types do well here and many are well worth growing.
Garden centers and nurseries usually offer a few snapdragons for the South Florida gardener in mid winter, but the choices are very limited so learning to grow them from seed is a great way to bring more variety to the garden. The key is knowing what varieties to sow.
As mentioned before, most tall Snaps wont do well here in South Florida. Warm days and nights causes them to be weak-stemmed and floppy; and even if they do bloom, the flowers are stunted and short. Look for the dwarf or knew-high snaps. These come to bloom faster and some are quite heat tolerant allowing for a longer bloom season. Swallowtail Garden Seeds offers a large variety of dwarf and knee high-snaps that are sure to be successful in your garden.
The Aromas Series: These above all have performed the best for me. They are easy to grow and have a uniform bloom (meaning they all bloom at the same time) to create a beautiful show. They are particularly heat tolerant blooming well into June and sometimes even surviving the summer and blooming again in the fall. These are by far the best snapdragons we have ever grown and they are well worth the extra price for premium seed. As an added bonus, they are exquisitely fragrant and, like all snapdragons, can last well over a week in the vase. Available at Swallowtail Garden Seeds.
The Twinny Series: Here is another winner. These may not be a suitable for cutting but they make excellent bedding plants that bloom profusely and cover themselves in 2-inch, uniquely-double blooms. These are not the traditional tall flower but have more of a ground-cover habit that is attractive along borders or in planters. They are available in softer shades of pink, peach, apricot and white as well as ‘apple blossom’ and ‘bronze’. Available at Park Seed.
The Arrow Series: This is another great choice, especially if you are looking to add a wider color palate to your snapdragon bed. These are a little less heat tolerant than the Aroma series however so you may want to time them so that they get their start in the coolest weeks of the year. And be sure they have adequate water until well established. Arrow seeds can be found at Stokes Seed Co. and come in a variety of lovely colors.
Sowing Snapdragon Seeds:
Snapdragon seeds need light to germinate so place the seed on pre-moistened growing medium and do not cover them or spray them with water. They also need temperatures in the mid 70s to get going so you’ll need to wait until the weather cools a bit to sow them. To get an early start on the season, start them in an air-conditioned closet where they can be kept relatively cool. You’ll need a florescent light spaced just a few inches over the seedlings in order to get them growing happy and avoid legginess and dampening off. You will also need to cover your seeds with clear plastic to allow light in and keep humidity high. Learn more about seed starting here (coming soon!).