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How to Plant Snapdragons

With their bright and cheerful blooms, snapdragon flowers are a perfect way to add some color to your spring garden. Planting snapdragons is easy to learn. With a few simple steps, you’ll be rewarded with a garden full of gorgeous blooms in no time.

In this guide, I’ll show you everything you need to know for how to plant snapdragons. Whether you’re interested in starting snapdragons from seed or purchasing starter plants from a store, this guide has you covered. Let’s get right to it.

Colorful snapdragon blooms. If you know how to plant snapdragons, you'll have dazzling displays in your garden each year.

Why Grow Snapdragons

The bright, beautiful blooms of snapdragons may be reason enough to grow them but there’s plenty more to love about these pretty flowers!

Early Blooms

Snapdragons thrive in cool temperatures and bloom weeks before many other flowers. They’re the perfect way to get some early color into your flower garden.

Snapdragons in shades of orange and pink against foliage.

Attract Pollinators

Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds all love snapdragons. Attracting beneficial pollinators is good for the environment and your garden!

Deer Resistant

Most of the time, deer leave snapdragons alone which is a huge plus if you have deer near your garden.


What Snapdragons Need to Grow

As many gardeners know, providing the right growing conditions is the foundation of growing a healthy and happy garden. Here are the growing conditions that snapdragons prefer.

Soil

Snapdragons like fertile, moist, well-draining soil. A neutral pH between 6.0-7.0 is best but these flowers aren’t too picky.

Sun

Snapdragons in the sunlight.

Snapdragons bloom best in a sunny location. They tolerate partial shade, especially during the summer when the sun is at its strongest but you’ll get more blooms in full sun. Choose a location that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

Temperature

These early-blooming flowers like cooler temperatures. They thrive in spring and usually slow down or stop growing altogether in the summer heat, especially if you live in a very hot climate.

Keep the plants well watered over the summer and they usually start blooming again in the fall.


How to Start Snapdragons from Seed

Snapdragon seedlings started indoors under grow lights.

Starting snapdragons from seed is simple and affordable. Seeds are inexpensive and easy to start both indoors and outdoors.

How to Start Snapdragons Indoors

Since they’re relatively slow growers, starting snapdragons indoors helps ensure you have plenty of time to enjoy the blooms before the hot temperatures of summer arrive. In winter, you can start snapdragon seeds indoors as early as 6-12 weeks before the last frost.

In the summer, get a jumpstart on your fall garden by starting another round of snapdragons indoors while it’s still too hot to plant them outside.

Seed Starting Supplies

The process for how to plant snapdragons indoors is simple, especially when you have the right tools.

grow light is helpful when starting snapdragons indoors because the seeds need light in order to germinate. A sunny windowsill may work well but if you don’t have a suitable location, a grow light is a must.

A snapdragon in a pot on a windowsill.

Grow lights come in a wide range of sizes and price ranges, so you can find something that works for you. Our article on the Best Grow Lights for Seedlings has several great options at different price points.

If you don’t already have some basic seed starting supplies, here are some additional tools that are good to have.

You may have noticed a popular seed starting tool is missing from this list. Heating pads are helpful for many garden plants but you don’t want to use one with snapdragons!

Usually, heating pads improve germination rates by warming up the soil. Since snapdragons like it cold, too much heat actually reduces germination rates. For the best germination rates when it comes to starting snapdragon seeds, skip the heating pad!

One thing you definitely can’t get by without is snapdragon seeds!

Starting Snapdragon Seeds Indoors

Snapdragon seedlings started in an egg carton.

Fill seed trays with seed starting mix and sprinkle a few seeds in each cell. Push the seeds gently down into the mix and water thoroughly. A spray bottle is ideal for watering at this stage because the fine spray won’t disturb seeds.

Keep the tray in front of a sunny window or under a grow light.

If using a grow light, turn it on for 12-16 hours per day and then turn it off at night. Plants need a resting period just like we do, so be sure to give them at least eight hours of darkness each day.

Keep the seeds moist and they’ll emerge in about 10-20 days. After seedlings emerge, thin the plants to one per cell.

When the seedlings grow to about 3-4 inches tall, pinch off the tops. This promotes branching resulting in bushier plants and more flowers.

The four steps in the pinching off process for snapdragons.
Pinching off process for snapdragon seedlings.

How to Plant Snapdragons Outside

To plant snapdragon seeds directly in the garden, wait until just after the last frost. Sprinkle the seeds over the soil and gently work them in to a depth of no more than 1/4 inch. Water thoroughly and keep the soil moist as seeds are germinating.

Snapdragon seedlings started in a planter box.

How to Plant Snapdragon Seedlings

Whether you purchased starter plants or started them from seed, at some point you’ll want to move your snapdragon seedlings outside to the garden.

You can start planting snapdragons outside right after the last spring frost. In fall, wait to plant outside until temperatures have cooled down to the 70s or low 80s.

Person planting a snapdragon seedling in the garden.

Harden off First

If you started snapdragons indoors, make sure to harden off the plants before transplanting them to the garden. Plants need time to get used to the elements outside slowly.

Plants grown in nurseries are usually hardened off already so they’re ready to plant right away.

Planting Snapdragons in the Garden

Dig a hole in the flower bed that’s a bit larger than the root ball of your plant. Gently place the snapdragon seedling in the hole and fill in around it with soil. Space the plants at least six inches apart to give them plenty of room to grow. Water thoroughly and in a few weeks, you’ll have blooms!


Caring For Snapdragons

Bright colored snapdragon flowers.

Snapdragons are pretty low-maintenance flowers. They don’t need much attention to provide beautiful blooms all season long.

Water

One of the most important things snapdragons need is water. They need about an inch of water per week. If you’re not getting regular rain, use a watering can or hose with a sprayer attachment to water snapdragons at the base of the plant. Overhead watering can cause issues like powdery mildew so it’s best to water under the leaves as much as you can.

Keep the soil moist to help your snapdragons develop strong roots and produce beautiful blooms.

Fertilizer

Snapdragons aren’t heavy feeders so they don’t need a lot of fertilizer.

Adding organic matter to the soil when planting is a good way to supply extra nutrients to your plants. If you already have rich soil, this is probably enough to help your snapdragons grow strong and healthy.

If you don’t have rich, fertile soil, fertilizer can help by supplying essential nutrients to plants. Apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer when the snapdragons start producing flowers.

Deadheading

Deadheading is when you remove the dead flower heads from a plant. It not only improves the appearance of the plants, but it also encourages them to produce more flowers.

Once blooms fade, trim the dying stems away with a pair of sharp scissors or garden shears.


Wrapping up How to Plant Snapdragons

Closeup of snapdragon blossoms in a range of colors.

With these tips on how to plant snapdragons, your flower beds are sure to be blooming with color this spring.

If you’re interested in growing more flowers, visit the Seed Starting page on our website. There we have resources for how to plant many different flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Whatever you’re planning to grow, you’re sure to find some tips and tricks to help you along the way!