Many gardeners have fond childhood memories of opening and closing snapdragon flowers “jaws” to make them appear to talk. Besides the kid appeal, snapdragons are versatile plants whose many variations can find a place in almost any garden.
Almost all types of snapdragons grown in gardens are cultivars of the common snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus). Snapdragon variations within Antirrhinum majus include differences in plant size and growth habit, flower type, flower color, and foliage color. Many wild snapdragon species also exist, though they are rare in gardens.
Snapdragon Plant Varieties
Snapdragon plant types include tall, mid-size, dwarf, and trailing plants.
- Tall types of snapdragons are 2.5 to 4 feet (75 cm. to 1 m.) tall and are often used for cut flower production. These varieties, such as “Animation,” “Rocket,” and “Snappy Tongue,” require staking or other supports.
- Mid-size varieties of snapdragon are 15 to 30 inches (38-76 cm.) tall; these include “Liberty” snapdragons.
- Dwarf plants grow 6 to 15 inches (15-38 cm.) tall and include “Tom Thumb” and “Floral Carpet.”
- Trailing snapdragons make a lovely floral groundcover, or they can be planted in window boxes or hanging baskets where they will cascade over the edge. “Fruit Salad,” “Luminaire,” and “Cascadia” are trailing varieties.
Flower type: Most snapdragon varieties have single blossoms with the typical “dragon jaw” shape. A second flower type is the “butterfly.” These flowers do not “snap” but instead have fused petals that form a butterfly shape. “Pixie” and “Chantilly” are butterfly varieties.
Several double blossom varieties, known as double azalea snapdragons, have become available. These include the “Madame Butterfly” and “Double Azalea Apricot” varieties.
Flower color: Within each plant type and flower type several colors are available. In addition to the many single-color kinds of snapdragons, you can also find multicolored varieties like “Lucky Lips,” which has purple and white flowers.
Seed companies also sell seed mixes that will grow into plants with several colors, such as “Frosted Flames,” a mix of mid-sized snaps of many colors.
Foliage color: While most varieties of snapdragon have green foliage, “Bronze Dragon” has dark red to almost black leaves, and “Frosted Flames” has green and white variegated foliage.
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Ilana Goldowitz Jimenez is a scientific and agricultural writer with a B.S. in Plant Sciences from Cornell University and a PhD in Chemical Biology and Infectious Disease from Harvard University.
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