Cheery Snapdragons

    • Choose chrysanthemums in a variety of colors now. They are hardy perennials which will brighten your garden each fall.
    • When blackberry vines are done fruiting, prune back the canes which bore fruit this summer. Twine young canes around the fence or trellis.
    • Garlic should be planted now for an easy crop that you can harvest next spring. Choose from Early White, Late Pink, Spanish Roja or Elephant Garlic.
    • It’s time to divide overgrown perennials that bloomed in the spring or early summer. It’s also a good time to choose and plant some new varieties.
    • Apples, pears and other fruit trees can be planted in the fall from containers to get a head start on next spring.

Cheery Snapdragons

Snapdragons are colorful bedding plants that thrive in the cool weather of fall and spring. If you plant them this month they will begin blooming in just a few weeks and give you more flowers next spring.

Natives of the Mediterranean region, there are many fine varieties of ‘snaps’ in almost any size from 8-inch dwarfs to 3-foot giants. Snapdragons bear their flowers on spikes. These are tall stems lined with flower buds. The lower flowers open first, then those above and so on until the entire spike has bloomed.

Snapdragons are a particular favorite of children who like to pinch the tiny individual blossoms and make the “dragon mouth” open and close. But some snapdragons don’t “snap.” They are the open-mouthed flowers and double azalea-flowered types.

The flowers come in lavish colors. There are bright yellows, rich reds, pleasing pinks, vivid oranges and pure whites. They all bloom over a long season here. Some even have a soft, sweet fragrance.

The tall varieties make fine cut flowers. Snip the spikes to within several inches of the base to encourage the growth of additional flowering stems. Flowers are also visited by hummingbirds and bumble bees.

Well-liked cultivars include the low-growing Floral Showers series that reach 6 to 8 inches tall and make bushy plants with a compact mound-like habit. They make good container plants, colorful ground covers and walkway borders, and are nice to fill the gaps between spring-flowering bulbs or in mixed flower beds.

Sonnet Mix snapdragons are a taller variety that makes beautiful backdrops for shorter plants. The mix contains dark red, yellow, white, pink and orange shades. They grow 18″ to 20″ tall and can be planted 10-12 inches apart. This is a great medium sized snapdragon. It doesn’t need staking like the taller types, but is big enough to plant behind some other shorter flowers.

Madame Butterfly Mix has double azalea flowers that don’t ‘snap’ but look elegant on their tall, 28” stems. Open-faced double blooms average 1½ inches across on 8-inch long flower stalks. The plants are strong and sturdy with a good branching habit, and the blooms remain on plant for a very long time.

The handsome Rockets have tall, strong spikes of beautifully colored blooms rising on stately stems to 3 feet tall. Plant them in the back of the border where they will make a colorful backdrop for the other bedding plants. Stake them in windy areas and cut them often as cutting stimulates more flowers. Enjoy them in the and their spicy fragrance in the garden or the vase.

Snapdragons like full sun but they will tolerate some shade. They should be watered and fed regularly, and flower spikes should be cut off after they are done blooming so that seeds don’t develop, which signal the plant to stop flowering.

Whether you plant them for their stately cut flowers, or so the children can enjoy making them “snap,” don’t let your fall garden be without snapdragons.

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