Annuals A - Z: All About Annual Flowers & Plants, by Graham Rice

Discovering Annuals, by Graham Rice

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Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)
Growing guide

Snapdragons are amongst the most delightful of annuals; they're easy to grow, come in a wide range of colours and vary in height from trailing varieties, to neat hummocks to bushy bedders to tall varieties for the border and for use as cut flowers.
Type Half hardy annual, can be sown outside in mild areas.
Garden conditions Best in full sun and in any reasonably fertile soil which does not dry out; some are also good in containers.
Sowing indoors In early or mid spring, usually March or April, at about 65F/18C. Sow the seed thinly in fresh seed compost, press it into the surface and leave the seed uncovered or cover with a thin layer of vermiculite. Cover the seeds pots with transparent film to keep the seed moist.
Pricking out Prick out into trays of fresh compost when the seedlings are large enough to handle. Drench with a copper based fungicide as a protection against damping off disease.
Growing on Grow cooler than many other half hardy annuals, 50F/10C is fine, and once the seedlings have become established no extra heat will be needed.
Planting out Snapdragons are tougher than many half hardies, if they are hardened off carefully they can be planted out in late spring and will take a little frost.
Sowing outdoors Antirrhinums can also be sown outside in late spring, but choose the less expensive varieties where you get plenty of seed to take account of the likely losses.
Pests and diseases Rust is a big problem, spray every two weeks with a specific rust fungicide.

Snapdragon 'Dancing Flame'

Snapdragon 'Dancing Flame'
Snapdragon 'Cinnamon Bronze'
Snapdragon 'Purple & White Bells'
Trial at the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisley, Surrey
Choosing and growing antirrhinums (Snapdragons)

Variety guide
Mixtures are far more widely available than individual colours.
Trailing: 'Lampion', in mix of soft bicolours; also makes spreading ground cover.
Dwarf: 'Kim' is a late starter but a late finisher in ten colours; the open-throated 'Bells', in seven colours, starts and finishes earlier.
Medium: 'Sonnet', in eight colours, and the open throated 'La Bella' in ten colours are excellent; the 'Madame Butterfly' mix has double flowers.
Tall: 'Rocket' and 'Forerunner' are occasionally seen; both are good.
Separate colours: 'Peaches and Cream' (8in/20cm) is pink and cream;
'Dancing Flame' (15in/38cm) is orange with variegated foliage, 'Cinnamon Bronze' is double peachy bronze.

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