Antirrhinum (snapdragon)


A popular garden and bedding plant, available in range of heights and flower types. An easy plant to grow and care for, which flowers well throughout the summer. A real favourite with children - who love to pinch the sides of the flowers to open the dragon's mouth. Rust disease can be a problem, but there are now an good selection of rust resistant hybrids.

Family: Plantaginaceae (plantain/figwort family)
Botanical Name: Antirrhinum
Common Names: snapdragon

Foliage: Deciduous, basic green leaves.

Flowers: Open-faced, lipped tubular flowers, in shades of crimson, scarlet, pink, purple, yellow and white. Often fragrant.

Flowering Period: Spring to autumn.

Soil: Any rich, well-drained, garden soil. Chalk, sand or loam. Alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in a west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.

Habit: Tall bushy.

Type: Half-hardy annuals or perennials, best grown as annuals in the UK, except in all but very mild regions.


Hardiness: Half-hardy, protect from frost. Hardy in coastal and milder areas of the UK.

Planting and Growing Antirrhinum

For best results grow in a sunny position in well-drained soil. Traditionally grown in flower beds and borders, the taller forms are good for the front or mid border. Compact varieties are best for pots and containers.

Suitable for town, city, courtyard, cottage, formal and informal gardens. Useful for dry beds, borders, wall, rock and wild gardens.

Taking Care of Antirrhinum

Water moderately but never let the plant dry out completely. Feed once a fortnight, with a mild fertilizer once buds form.

Stake tall varieties in exposed sites.

Perennials forms may survive mild winters, however, they are best treated as annuals or biennials.


Remove spent flower spikes to prolong the display.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack by aphids. Prone to rust and powdery mildew - resistant varieties are available (e.g. Coronette Series).

Propagating Antirrhinum

For the biennial method, sow seed in late summer/early autumn and overwinter seedlings under glass. Plant out after danger of frost has passed. Alternatively sow as annuals in early spring.

Pinch out growing tip, once plants are 4in (10cm) high, to make them more bushy.

Popular Varieties of Antirrhinum Grown in the UK

There are several different cultivars of Antirrhinum, available in a range of sizes and colours. Garden Snapdragons are mainly varieties of A. majus.

'Appleblossom', tall form, delicate white blossoms with soft pink hues. Height to 3ft (90cm).

'Black Prince', dwarf form with deep crimson flowers. Height to 18in (45cm).

'Coronette Mixed', a tall peloric type in mixed colours. Resistant to rust and good for cutting.

'Double Supreme', long spikes of ruffled blooms. Height to 90cm (36in).

'Glamour Parade', a range of pastel colours. Height 50-60cm (20-24in)

'His Excellency', large, wide flowers. Height of 18in (45cm).

'Madame Butterfly', a tall peloric type in mixed colours.

'Pretty in Pink', a new perennial variety. Height to 2ft (60cm).

'Rembrandt', scarlet and gold flowers. Height to 18in (45cm).

'Royal Carpet', 'Magic Carpet' & 'Floral Carpet', dwarf series. Height up to 8in (20cm).

Sonnet Series, with red, pink, yellow or white flowers. Height: 16in (40cm).

'Tom Thumb Mixed', dwarf form with mixed flower colours. Height to 10in (25cm).

A. asarina (Asarina procumbens), creeping/trailing species ideal for rock gardens, containers and hanging baskets.

Note: If there is a problem with rust disease in your area choose a rust resistant hybrid.