These unique flowers are fantastic for beginner gardeners and can be a great plant for children getting into growing their own food and flowers. Big, blousey and jolly, antirrhinum are great just about anywhere in your garden. The familiar 'snap dragon' provides an endless amusement for little kids. A polytunnel could allow you to overwinter these pretty plants and get more flowers the following spring.
Sow antirrhinum seeds indoors and aim to maintain a temperature of around 18 degrees. Seeds are usually sown between January and March, though they can also be sown in late summer and overwintered for flowers in the spring. If overwintered, certain antirrhinum varieties can grow rather tall – up to 2m or so.
Simply place your seeds on top of a tray of moist compost – seeds should not be covered. Place in a bag or propagator and place on a warm sunny windowsill.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant each into a 7.5cm pot. Grow on in cooler conditions and harden off before planting in their final growing positions in your polytunnel or in larger containers after all risk of frost is past in your area. Plants should ideally be given a spacing of around 30cm.
Though most antirrhinum are half hardy annuals (technically short-lived perennials), a truly perennial, fully hardy variety 'Antirrhinum – Pretty in Pink' is now available and could be the perfect choice for a cottage garden. This variety, like many other antirrhinum, has a long flowering period and will keep going until the first autumn frosts.
Antirrhinums come in single or double flowered varieties. The single flowers and more traditional and classic, while double flowers which tend to last longer in bloom. A wide range of different colours and types are available. Some will need a little staking or other support as they grow, while others will happily grow unaided. Plants are best grown up as single stems and the growing tip should not be pinched off as with other flowering plants that are best when encouraged to bush out.
Once you main flower has finished or been removed for use in the home, the side shoots should then come into flower.
Harvest blooms as they appear over the summer, as you wish. Antirrhinum are perfect for cut flower arrangements in your home and some also have a pleasing fragrance as well as a pretty look.