- Snapdragon Seed Heads: Tips For Snapdragon Seed Collecting
- Snapdragon Seed Pod Info
- How to Harvest Snapdragon Seeds
- How to Save Snapdragon Seeds
- FLOWER FOCUS: Snapdragons
- Here Be Snapdragons!
- Gardening with snapdragons and toadflax
- Growing snapdragons from seed
- How to care for your snapdragons
- Floral design, or “How to housetrain your snapdragons”
- History and folklore
- Contact Seed Needs
- 10 things we didn’t know last week
- Saving Seeds From the Garden
- How to Store Seeds
Snapdragon Seed Heads: Tips For Snapdragon Seed Collecting
Snapdragons are familiar, old-fashioned flowers named for the blooms that resemble little dragon jaws that open and close when you gently squeeze the sides of the flowers. The segmented blooms must be pollinated by big, strong bumblebees because honeybees aren’t sturdy enough to open the jaws. Once the pollinated blooms die back, another unique feature of the plant is revealed – the snapdragon seed heads. Read on to learn more.
Snapdragon Seed Pod Info
When the snapdragon flowers die, the dried seed pods, which look like tiny, brown, shrunken skulls, prove just how beautiful and strange nature can be. Watch for the seed pods in late summer, then get your camera
because your friends will never believe it!
The odd-looking seed heads have been the source of legends for hundreds of years. One story says that women who eat the skull-like seed heads will regain their lost youth and beauty, while some people believed a few of the mystical little pods scattered around the house would protect the residents from curses, sorcery and other forms of evil.
Harvest a few of those spooky seedpods and you can save snapdragon seeds for planting next spring. Read on to learn about snapdragon seed collecting.
How to Harvest Snapdragon Seeds
Snapdragon seed collecting is fun and easy. Be sure the pods are dry, then pinch them from the plant and shake the dry, brittle seeds into your hand or a small bowl.
If you can’t hear the seeds rattling in the pods, let the pods dry for a few more days before harvesting. Don’t wait too long though; if the pods burst, the seeds will fall on the ground.
How to Save Snapdragon Seeds
Put the seeds in a paper envelope and store them in a cool, dark place until spring planting time. Don’t store the seeds in plastic because they may mold.
Harvesting snapdragon seeds is that simple!
FLOWER FOCUS: Snapdragons
Over the past few years, snapdragons have rapidly become one of our most profitable early summer crops. Last season we grew around six thousand plants and sold every useable stem in the patch. I have even more penciled into the plan going forward.
Not only are snapdragons beautiful and highly productive, but they’re actually fragrant too!
To have the longest bloom window possible you’ll need to select varieties from each of the four flowering groups. Group 1 being the earliest and Group 4 the latest. Most are only available from trade sources such as Gloeckner, Ivy Garth Seeds and Geo Seeds. If you look, they’ll be listed under greenhouse/forcing types but don’t be fooled, they can be successfully grown in the field as well. Home gardener’s can find the Chantilly’s from Renee’s Garden Seed and the Animations and Rockets from Johnny’s Select Seeds.
Seeds are generally started between late January-mid February. They’re tiny little buggers so get sown in 288 cell trays. Plants are placed into the field by early April, roughly three weeks before our last first date. This year we’re pushing it even earlier and will try and have them in by mid-late March.
Our plants are spaced 9×9” apart, with five rows per bed. They are grown in preburned landscape fabric covered beds that are heavily amended with compost and a good organic fertilizer prior to planting. Once they get about six inches tall, we add a layer of tenax netting to keep heavy stems from toppling over in the spring rains.
When harvested with just the bottom 3-5 flowers open, cut snaps will persist for an amazing amount of time. I generally expect a week from them but often get nearly two. Be sure to store cut stems as perfectly upright as possible since they will bend and curve otherwise.
Here in WA we are plagued by the western flower thrips and since our farm is managed organically there isn’t a real solution to the issue. After a few seasons of fretting about the millions of tiny dark specks crawling all over the blooms (they love snaps) I just stopped growing white, yellow and soft pink varieties. The thrips don’t damage the snapdragon flowers like they do with Roses or Lisianthus but on the light colored blooms they really stand out and attract attention. By sticking with the deeper, more saturated tones the thrips are nearly invisible even up close.
We’ve grown just about every variety available and here are my favorites:
Chantilly’s (group 1-2): This gorgeous group of ruffled butterfly type blooms is one of our most requested and loved crops of the summer! Our customers actually jump up and down clapping when the first bunches are delivered. I have grown all ten of the colors available but over time have whittled my selection down to the best selling four: pink (it’s actually coral), light pink, bronze, light salmon. Creamy yellow, yellow and white are all stunning but show insect damage a bit too much. Deep orange, a pretty tomato soup colored flower consistently under performs the other varieties by half, has much shorter stems and is an off color that early in the season. Purple and velvet are gorgeous but again, a bit too bright. I often combine stems from the favorite four into one bunch and they look like bundles of sherbet. This combo is to die for!
Animation (group 2): The first traditional snaps to flower in the patch, this group exhibits tall strong stems and always produces an abundant crop. My three favorite colors are deep orange, rose and white. I have also grown royal purple and red but the colors are a bit too strong that early in the summer.
Overture (group 2) I just adore this collection! Each plant produces masses of thick stemmed, richly colored blooms. While all are beautiful I consistently grow light bronze and rose since they are the top selling colors and go great in our mixed bouquets.
Opus (group 3-4) Almost identical to the Overture series, these productive beauties offer a later bloom and masses of large, brilliant flowers. I adore: early bronze, rose, bright red and red. If thrips aren’t an issue apple blossom (pictured above) and plum blossom are both seriously worth considering. Their bicolor blooms are gorgeous and very unique!
Rocket (group 4) The old standard for field grown snaps, this rainbow colored group, while considerably shorter than the others mentioned, still makes a great field crop. We generally just grow the mix.
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Here Be Snapdragons!
March 19, 2019
Dragons, we assume, would be reptiles, and we all know that toads are amphibians, right? At least, most of us have known the difference between these two classes of animals since first grade. But toadflax and snapdragons are more closely-related than their common names imply.
Toadflax (Linaria maroccana) and snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) may not be in the same genus, but they’re kissing cousins within the Plantaginaceae family. Semantics and botanical classifications aside, both plants are extremely popular bedding species, in large part because of their profuse showy blooms, diverse colors, and bright foliage. They’re interchangeable in both folk medicine and folklore, and there are few differences in their cultivation preferences. But one of the primary reasons snapdragons and toadflax are such a staple as bedding plants is their ease of cultivation from seed and their chill attitudes toward transplanting.
Gardening with snapdragons and toadflax
Not too long ago, we wrote about pansies and their popularity as cool-climate annuals. Snapdragons are probably the pansy’s favorite bedding buddy, and you’ll see them together in many annual landscape schemes. There’s an ideal snapdragon size and color for nearly any location, from border fronts to bed centerpieces to backgrounds. Both species work very well in regions known for attracting “snowbirds”—they bloom best and longest in cooler summer climates or areas with warm winters.
Both toadflax and true snapdragons have long, narrow, bright green leaves (up to 3″ long) and tubular, two-lipped blooms. True snapdragons have rigid, upright spiky racemes with densely-packed flowers. Spurred snapdragons (toadflax) are more casual about their blooms, which tend to grow a bit more sparsely on their slightly floppy spikes. The latter plant has more of a branching habit than the former.
True snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Technically classified as herbaceous perennials in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 to 10, true snapdragons are grown as an annual everywhere else. In fact, more than a few garden “experts” would fall in a dead faint if they learned that these plants could overwinter anywhere at all.
- Height: 18″ to 24″
- Width: 12″ to 16″
- Spacing: Plant or thin 12″ to 18″ apart
- Growth habit: Upright, branching
- Soil quality: Well-draining, moderately fertile soil between 5.5 and 6.2 pH
- Moisture: Medium; prefers consistent irrigation for damp but not wet soil
- Sunlight: Full sun, not as tolerant of shade as L. maroccana
- Bloom period: April through June; longer in cooler climates
- Bloom colors: White, yellow, gold, pink, red, lavender, and purple
- Foliage: Narrow, blade-like, and bright green up to 3″ long
Lesser-known names include antirrhinum, dog’s mouth, dragon flower, and lion’s mouth.
Spurred, or “baby” snapdragon (Linaria maroccana)
Spurred snapdragon’s size is somewhere between the dwarf and standard true snapdragons, and like the former, it’s most frequently used in borders, mass plantings, containers, and rock gardens. It’s more shade- and drought-tolerant than Antirrhinum majus, preferring a little protection from the late-afternoon sun at summer’s peak. It’s strictly classified as an annual, growing heartily in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 through 11.
L. maroccana’s flowers look like smaller versions of the snapdragon’s, but with long, tapering “spurs” behind each bloom.
- Width: 6″ to 8″
- Spacing: 8″ to 10″
- Growth habit: Upright, branching
- Soil quality: Well-draining soil; tolerates poor to medium quality ideal pH 6.1 to 6.5 but as wide as 5.8-7.2
- Moisture: Medium; prefers consistent irrigation for damp but not wet soil
- Sunlight: Full sun, partial shade
- Bloom period: April through June; longer in cooler climates or with consistent irrigation
- Bloom colors: White, yellow, gold, pink, red, lavender, and purple
- Foliage: Narrow, blade-like, up to 1.5″ long
While L. maroccana is technically toadflax, L. vulgaris is the species to which this common name typically applies. Common toadflax (also called yellow toadflax) is an invasive perennial in many regions. L. maroccana can reseed itself, but it doesn’t overwinter and isn’t as aggressive as its cousin.
Maroccana refers to Morocco, the plant’s geographic origin. Linaria is loosely derived from Linum, the genus name for true flaxes. The only resemblance between L. maroccana and flax is the foliage, which is also very much like that of the snapdragon.
Pick a team already, toadflax.
Growing snapdragons from seed
Since snapdragons perform best in spring and early summer, we recommend that you give them some lead time. Start them indoors in peat pellets or nursery trays (don’t bother with heat mats), and place them in a cool room with temperatures between 60°F and 65°F. Provide them with full-spectrum lighting for 8 to 12 hours each day, beginning at seeding time.
If you’re starting your snapdragon and toadflax seeds outdoors, be sure to remove all clumps and debris from the site and add screened, well-aged compost. Following are some general guidelines for growing snapdragons from seed, which may vary depending on the species and plant variety:
- Seed Treatment: None required
- When to Plant Outdoors: When the soil has warmed to 65°F
- When to Plant Indoors: 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost
- Seed Depth: Gently press onto soil surface, but do not cover
- Seed Spacing: See individual plant profiles
- Days to Germination: 10 to 20 days Degrees 60°F-65°F
If you use peat pellets or nursery trays, step them up to 4″ pots once they’re an inch or so tall. We recommend a hardening-off period of 7 to 14 days for transplants, which can go into the ground when there’s no chance of frost and daytime soil temperatures are at least 60°F. Be sure to keep your seedlings evenly moist—but not wet—until they become established.
How to care for your snapdragons
True snapdragons are a bit more delicate than Linaria maroccana, being susceptible to rust and other fungal issues, but both plants benefit from precautionary measures:
- Avoid overhead watering, especially late in the day when the sun won’t have a chance to dry the foliage.
- Increase irrigation during periods of high heat to increase the bloom period.
- Don’t plant snapdragons in the same space season after season. Rotate your beds to break disease cycles.
- Keep an eye out for aphids.
In most climates, the bloom is cut short in the heat of midsummer. They’ll bloom all season long in cooler temperatures, especially with deadheading and consistent irrigation. At the first sign of fading, cut back your snapdragons by 2/3″ to encourage a second round of growth and bloom. Apply an all-around, balanced fertilizer at this time to kick the plants into gear.
A layer of mulch will help keep your snapdragon beds cool and will reduce moisture loss. Be careful to keep some space around the plant bases to prevent fungus.
If you’re fortunate enough to live where your true snapdragons grow as perennials, cut them to within 1″ of ground level to tidy up your garden in fall.
Floral design, or “How to housetrain your snapdragons”
With a little effort, your snapdragons can live indoors…at least, for up to 10 days as fresh-cut flowers. They only make a mess on the rug when they drop their petals. Be sure to put them in water as soon as you cut them and then cut the stems again under running water when you get inside. Add some flower preservative to the water to help keep them fresh and perky.
If you let them dry out and go to seed, look closely at your snapdragon seed pods. They can resemble little goblin faces or even human skulls. Artists have made castings of these for jewelry. Who knew that these cheerful, colorful cottage garden favorites would be such a hit with Gothic creatives?
History and folklore
Both plants evolved in Mediterranean and Tyrrhenian coastal climates. Spurred snapdragons claim Morocco, specifically, as its home turf and true snapdragons first evolved in the southwest European region. Both species share similar medicinal properties. According to Maud Grieve’s A Modern Herbal, both plants are stimulants and anti-inflammatories, often used in poultices for skin ulcers, hemorrhoids, and tumors. Eyes irritated? Just use a little juice of the toad…flax!
Eastern Europeans (mainly Russians) pressed seeds from both plants for a “poor man’s” substitute for olive oil. The flowers, while bitter, are sometimes used as garnishes. Some toadflax species are rumored to be poisonous, though there isn’t any documentation to back up those claims. Whether this is a “dead men tell no tales” or “snitches get stitches” kinda thing, we really don’t know.
Since we’re talking about magical creatures and medicinal folklore, we might as well go all in: Toadflax and snapdragon, when used as wreaths or indoor arrangements, served to protect the home from evil spirits and nefarious intentions. Both plants were (and in some circles, still are) essential components of counter-hex spells. They may not keep black cats from pooping in your garden, but we’re betting that hanging a bundle of dried seed pod husks by your doorbell might keep proselytizing doorknockers off your front step.
Let us know if it works for you.
Contact Seed Needs
Speaking of feedback, we welcome yours—whether you need advice about growing one of our seed varieties, or you have a problem with a recent shipment. We’re here for you, and we’ll make things right if we got your order wrong.
Folklore tells us that snapdragons can ward off negative energy and protect us from dark spells. Here at Seed Needs, we don’t rely on superstition. We cover our butts by selling the freshest, highest-quality seeds available, and backing up our products with high standards in customer care. If a bad review is a curse, then we’re grateful to have so many blessings from our loyal customers.
10 things we didn’t know last week
Snippets from the week’s news, sliced, diced and processed for your convenience.
1. Facebook remembers all the devices you’ve ever used to log in, and who else has used that same device.
More details (Forbes)
2. Basle – the Swiss city – is pronounced baal in English – but the football club of the same name is BAA-zuhl.
3. Six times each day, metal thieves make off with copper cables from Britain’s rail network.
4. Koalas bellow.
5. Victorian housewives made jam from carrots as a stand-in for apricots.
6. Fifties movie-makers got around the nudity ban by filming in naturist parks for “educational” purposes.
7. Cave drawing researchers can now tell the age and sex of prehistoric artists.
8. Julia Roberts once propositioned Happy Monday dancer Bez – according to Sean Ryder’s recollections of a night in the Viper Room nightclub.
More details (Sun)
9. Letters addressed to Kabul have the name and directions – there are few street names and numbers, and no postcodes.
10. Long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs swallowed their food whole.
Seen 10 things? Send us a picture to use next week. Thanks to Bob Boyd for this week’s photo of 10 snapdragon seed pods. “Not a collection of shrunken heads!” he says.
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- – What’s this?
When I first started gardening, I never thought about collecting and storing seeds from the garden. Honestly, as a newbie gardener, it never occurred to me that such a thing was even possible.
After reading about other gardeners who were harvesting their own seeds, I started paying closer attention to my gardens.
So, rather than cutting back all the flowers in my garden as they faded, I left them on the plants to see which ones would form seeds.
Morning Glory Seed Pods
It’s amazing that I never used to notice seed pods in my garden before.
But once you see them, you will find that they are everywhere! So many that it can be overwhelming.
Saving Snapdragon Seeds From The Garden
Saving Seeds From the Garden
If you’ve never collected seeds from your garden before, flowers are easiest to start with.
Some flowering plants, like snapdragon, petunia, butterfly weed, hollyhock and morning glory, will form a seed pod after the flower falls off the plant.
Others, like zinnia, marigold, black-eyed Susan, sunflower and cosmos, will form seeds right inside the flower head.
Collecting Gaillardia Seeds From The
Once the flowers start to fade on your favorite plants, leave them on the plant so they can form seeds.
Allow the flower head or seed pod to dry out completely before removing it from the plant.
Seeds are ready to harvest once the flower head or seed pod is brown and dried out.
Some seed pods may even split open, and the seeds will come out easily when the pods are disturbed.
Collecting And Storing Marigold Seeds
To harvest the seeds, simply clip off the entire pod or flower head and drop it into a small plastic container or bucket. Shake the bucket or break open the flower head/seed pod to collect the seeds.
Don’t forget to label the seeds as you collect them. Seeds can be harvested as long as the weather cooperates (even in the snow).
Saving Hibiscus Seeds From The Garden
How to Store Seeds
Spread the seeds on a paper towel, screen or newspaper and allow them to dry out completely before storing your seeds. Don’t allow seeds sit in plastic for too long, or they may get moldy.
Once the seeds are dry, you can store them in plastic or glass containers, or simply in a paper bag.
I like to store my seeds in small containers or small coin envelopes, and then put them in a larger plastic container. Or you can try making your own seed envelopes.
You could also use a special Seed Keeper, a cute recipe box, or an old-school photo album (the one with pockets) to keep your seeds organized. Whatever works for you!
Marigold Seeds From The Garden
Collecting and storing seeds is fun, it’s easy, and it’s a great way to save money. You’ll be able to grow your favorite plants from year to year for free.
It’s also a fun way to experiment with growing plants from seed, and share a part of your garden with your friends.
I don’t know about you, but I will be busy over the next several weeks collecting seeds from my garden.
More Posts About Collecting & Storing Seeds From The Garden
- How To Collect Butterfly Weed Seeds From The Garden
- Collect Lavender Seeds From Your Garden
- How to Collect Chive Seeds in Your Garden
Not sure how to get starting growing plants from seed, here are a few resources to help…
- Seed Starting Supplies
- Starting Seeds Indoors eBook
- Winter Sowing Seeds eBook
You could also take my Seed Starting Course, a comprehensive online course that shows you exactly how to start your seeds, step-by-step!
Do you collect seeds from your garden? Tell me about it in the comments below.