The genus Antirrhinum includes 30 to 40 species of annuals, perennials, and subshrubs from rocky sites in Europe, the U.S., and North Africa. They are grown for their showy spikes of tubular, 2-lipped flowers. The leaves, on branching stems, are lance-shaped to ovate. A. majus is the familiar garden snapdragon. It is a perennial, most often grown as an annual, but can survive a winter if mulched. Grow snapdragons as bedding, in borders, or for cut flowers. Shrubby perennial species are great in rock gardens or walls.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsSpikes of tubular, 2-lipped flowers from early summer to fall.
CareSpecies grown as annuals need full sun and fertile, sharply drained soil. Deadhead to prolong flowering. They can sometimes overwinter in Zones 5-7 if given a deep, loose mulch. Perennial species need very well-drained soil and a shelted site, as they are very fragile and do not tolerate winter moisture.
PropagationPropagate A. majus from seed sown at 61° to 64°F in winter. Take softwood cuttings of shrubby species in summer, or sow seeds in a cold frame in autumn or spring.
ProblemsGray mold, many fungal leaf spots, rust, and root rots are common. In some areas, aphids and leaf miners are problems.