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Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are one of my favourite garden plants and I realise that’s a really big statement to make! I love the colourful flowers and the fact when you think they are all but done, a warm spell in autumn may bring them alive again as a lovely surprise. Not to mention the undeniably easy to recognise seed heads that look like skulls. Nice skulls! They are super easy to grow and great for filling in patches in the garden or cut flower patch. Not only do they look pretty in a vase but the flowers are also edible, ideal for popping on the rim of a cocktail glass or to top a cake.
Sow the seeds a few months before the last frost and keep the soil moist. Grow them undercover but they don’t need heat so a Rhino Greenhouse is perfect. Seedlings grow pretty quickly and the best part is, those skull shaped seed heads can be collected right now in autumn for you to store the seeds over winter. Just tap the skulls and tiny little black seeds will drop out. Keep them in a cool, dry place over winter ready for sowing.
Thin the seedlings out as they start to grow and pinch out the tops when they are about 10cm tall. When you’ve hardened them off, plant them in a sunny position after the last frosts and keep them moist. They prefer a well drained, moist soil but I have grown them in many conditions and they have been just fine. You will notice they might stop blooming in the summer heat but don’t give up on them because as it cools down towards the end of summer, they usually have a second flush.
They are great cut flowers and last a long time in a vase, so with the numerous different colours you can grow your home can be full of colours for a long period throughout the year. Don’t forget the fun bit! If you use two fingers to gently squeeze the sides of the flower, they snap open and look like a dragon! All in all a great plant, so start seed saving now.
Text and Video by Ellen Mary