I’ve always had a really tumultuous relationship with snapdragons. For years, I’ve attempted to grow them, and never really had much success. I had tried to winter sow them, planting them in the spring, starting them indoors, and just about everything else – I failed every single time. As it would turn out, snapdragons are pretty easy to grow from seed as long as you’re able to plant them at the correct time.
Here in Kentucky, my spring time weather heats up quick. This May, the temperatures were already up in the 90s. Since snapdragons are cool season flowers, this obviously isn’t ideal. As it would turn out, planting the snapdragons in the fall and protecting them over winter would be the key to producing some really tall and beautiful flowers.
It is possible for me to plant snapdragons in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked, but they definitely won’t reach their full potential. When I’ve done this, the flowers don’t get nearly as tall. Those with milder growing seasons might have a lot of success with the winter sowing method, as well.
I sow the snapdragon seeds into trays around the end of September. I place my trays outside and allow them to germinate in a shady place. If you plan on doing this, it will be important to cover the trays with an insect barrier. Around the end of October, the seedlings get moved to an unheated hoop house or row cover. I’ve had some success having snapdragons over winter without protection, but it isn’t very reliable here during our cold and wet winters.
As the plants over wintered, I didn’t bother to weed them. I probably should have. Regardless, throughout the winter, I made sure to protect them. In general, I would cover them with an additional frost blanket any time the temperatures would be about 28F or below. The whole process of learning to regulate temperatures in the hoop house is best done through trial and error. It may feel intimidating, but once you get it down – it’s easy cheesy.
When spring arrived, I was able to remove the cover on the hoop house (with the help of severe thunderstorms). The snapdragons will quickly begin to stretch and bloom.
I was so incredibly pleased to have successfully grown these snapdragons for the first time in my garden. Next year, I can’t help but want to grow more and more varieties!