Growing Snapdragon Flowers Guide: How To ID, Pick Types of Snapdragons

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 28, 2024

Man looking at red snapdragon flowers after learning how to plant and care for types of snapdragon plants, how to identify snapdragon flower leaves, blooms and growing zones.

Snapdragon plants have something to offer every type of backyard garden. Cultivars of this plant deliver flowers in almost every color you can imagine, making them a perfect choice for ornamental plantings or cutting gardens.

Their blooms draw in different types of butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees, making them ideal for pollinator gardens.

Best of all is their mythological status, these plants get their name from the way that their blooms form a pair of “jaws” that resemble the elongated snout of a dragon.

By squeezing the flower, you can make these “jaws” snap open and shut, a simple way to spend a lazy summer afternoon.

Understanding how to grow and cultivate your own Snapdragon flowers isn’t difficult, you just need to follow a few simple rules.

This guide outlines the best growing conditions for Snapdragon flowers, when and where to plant them so they will thrive, and also how to recognize various types of Snapdragon plants before you decide to plant them.

Growing a Snapdragon From a Seed, Cutting, or Seedling

While growing a Snapdragon from a seed, cutting or seedling is possible, starting from a seed is a slow process.

A graphic of how to grow Snapdragon flower showing the sun and soil requirements, watering schedule, and best distance to plant Snapdragon flowers apart.

It takes several months for a germinated Snapdragon seed to grow into a plant capable of producing flowers.5

Snapdragon Seedlings

Snapdragon seedlings are the most common way to add this plant to your garden.5 Pick up a pack of seedlings at a garden center and plant them in the spring.

Pinch off the stems as you transplant to maximize bloom time.

Snapdragon Care

Snapdragon care is relatively simple, but proper care will ensure the healthiest plants and longest bloom times.

Watering Needs for Snapdragon Plants

Watering needs for Snapdragon plants are minimal. Keep the plant moist when it is a seedling, then add about an inch of water a week once it is established.5

How Much Sunlight Does Snapdragon Need Each Day?

How much sunlight does Snapdragon need each day? This plant can thrive in either full sun (6 hours or more) or partial sun (2 to 6 hours).1

How Far Apart To Plant Snapdragon

How far apart to plant Snapdragon is an important question you should ask yourself when planning your garden. Plant them at least 12 inches apart to let them grow to their full potential and to minimize disease risk.5


(Antirrhinum majus)

Snapdragon image in an oval frame on a green background.
  • Characteristics: Flowering plant with blossoms in every color
  • Family: Plantaginaceae
  • Genus: Antirrhinum
  • Leaf: Glossy and dark green
  • Seed: Contained within skull-shaped fruit
  • Blossoms: Tubular and available in many colors
  • Native Habitat: Mediterranean, Middle East, North Africa
  • Height: Up to 3 feet
  • Canopy: Up to 10 inches
  • Type: Technically a perennial, but more like an annual in practice
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA Zones 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b

How To Identify Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)

While Antirrhinum majus is the scientific term for this plant, it goes by many nicknames, which include:

  • Snapdragon
  • Dog flower
  • Dog’s mouth
  • Toad’s mouth
  • Toadflax

Wondering how to identify Snapdragon? Look for clues in its size, flowers, leaves, and seeds.

Snapdragon identification graphic showing Snapdragon seed, Snapdragon flower, and Snapdragon leaf images in circle frames and full-grown pink, white, and orange Snapdragons on the right.

(Leaf Image: Magnus Manske13 and Seed Image: Philmarin14)

This plant generally grows between 6 inches and 3 feet tall and can be 6 to 10 inches wide.1

Snapdragon Flower (Dragon Flower)

The Snapdragon flower measures 1-3 inches and has fused petals in a two-lipped,1 tube-shaped design. While it is edible, it doesn’t have an appealing flavor so is more often used as a garnish.

Depending on the cultivar you choose, your Snapdragon plant may grow purple flowers, pink flowers, different types of white flowers, or every color in between.

Snapdragon Leaves

Snapdragon leaves are 3 to 6 inches long and a rich glossy green in color.1 They are oval-shaped, hairless, and alternate down the stem of the plant.

Snapdragon Seeds

One of the most interesting Snapdragon facts lies in the shape of its fruit. While they start off brown or copper in color and contain several seeds, they eventually dry out to form a white or gray skull-shaped structure.

Types of Snapdragons by Color

What was once a short plant with muted flower colors has improved dramatically since the 1950s thanks to new cultivars.2 Now there are seemingly endless types of Snapdragons to choose from.

Snapdragon colors include pink, white, lavender, orange, red, and every mixture of these shades you can imagine. You can also find specialty varieties like Black Prince, which is a velvety purple species, or Costa, which is known for its silvery pink flowers.

1. Summer Snapdragon

Despite its name, Summer Snapdragon is an entirely different species from the common garden Snapdragon.

It is a species called Angelonia angustifolia,3 which is native to Mexico and the West Indies.

A cluster of purple Summer Snapdragon flowers, with their distinctive dragon-shaped blossoms surrounded by green foliage against a dark, rocky background.

(Image: Bishnu Sarangi (sarangib)15)

This species comes in shades of pink, white, and blue and is more likely to bloom during the peak of summer than the spring and fall.

Focused shot of tall stalks of Snapdragon plant with orange flowers.

(Image: Photorama16)

2. Orange Snapdragons

Some cultivars of orange Snapdragons include Potomac Orange, Orange Wonder, and Candy Orange varieties.

Double-shot orange cultivars not only have brilliant orange blooms but are bred to have double blossoms.

3. White Snapdragon

While Snapdragons come in many brilliant colors, some prefer the soothing minimalism of white Snapdragon, particularly when designing wedding arrangements.

Some white varieties include Chantilly White, Sonnet White, or Potomac White.

A close-up of a white Snapdragon flower spike with multiple blossoms.

(Image: Orna (OrnaW)17)

The Snapdragon Plant Facts

The Snapdragon plant is native to the warm sunny climates of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East. It also grows in many non-native areas, including much of North America.

Snapdragon Growing Zone

In the U.S., Snapdragon growing zones include USDA zones 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b.1 To determine whether you live in one of these zones, check the USDA Hardiness Zone Map.4

Best Growing Conditions for Snapdragon

The best-growing conditions for Snapdragon include areas with partial to full sun exposure and moist, nutrient-rich, well-draining soil.1 The plant prefers acidic to neutral soil, with night temperatures in the 40s and day temperatures in the 70s.5

Snapdragon Growth Rate

The Snapdragon growth rate can vary depending on where and how you plant it. In general, it is a fast grower and will reach maturity by mid-summer if planted as a seedling after the last frost.5

Wondering how long it takes to grow Snapdragon from a seed? Expect it to take 2 to 3 months from the time the seed germinates until you see your first flower.5

When Do Snapdragons Bloom?

Snapdragons bloom in early summer through the fall,1 though blooms may slow down in the hottest part of the summer.


What is the lifespan of Snapdragons? It depends on the cultivar you choose and where you live.

Typically, this plant is annual, which means it completes its entire life cycle in a single year.

It blooms in the spring through the fall, starting from the bottom of the stem to the top,5 and some cultivars are designed for extended bloom time, or to bloom during the peak of summer instead of the cooler days of spring and fall. Once cut, Snapdragons last for 5 to 16 days.6

Snapdragon: Annual or Perennial

The debate over whether Snapdragons are annual or perennial depends on where you live. If you live in its native zone of North Africa, the Middle East, or the Mediterranean, the plant is indeed a perennial and should come back every year.7

In other parts of the world, the plant behaves more like an annual flower and must be replanted each spring.

Snapdragon Garden Ideas

Some Snapdragon garden ideas include:

  • Cutting garden
  • Container garden
  • Snapdragon borders and edging
  • Pollinator garden

Snapdragon Threats

Snapdragon threats include the typical thorns in the sides of gardeners; fungal diseases and pests.

Snapdragon Disease Prevention

Some common Snapdragon diseases include:8

  • Downy or powdery mildew: Appears as white or fuzzy patches on leaves
  • Rust: Appears as rusty brown “sores”
  • Root and stem rot: Caused by overwatering; appears as wilting and plant collapse

To treat these diseases, pick off any damaged or diseased leaves, ensure plants have adequate airflow, and treat with a fungicide in early spring as a prevention tactic.

A garden path lined with tall, red Snapdragon flowers in full bloom, with a soft focus on the background showcasing Snapdragons in various other colors.

(Image: Rohit Singh (rohitsingh_88)18)

Two of the biggest things you can do as part of your Snapdragon disease prevention strategy are:

  1. Avoid watering from the top of the plant as this contributes to fungal diseases1
  2. Water and fertilize early in the day1

How To Stop Snapdragon Disease

While many Snapdragon diseases are fungal, there is one caused by a virus. Known as Impatiens Necrotic Spot Disease,8 it is transmitted by tiny pests called thrips.

Once your Snapdragon is infected, the only remedy is to completely remove the plant from your garden to avoid infecting other plants.

Common Pests of the Snapdragon

Common pests of the Snapdragon include:8

  • Cyclamen mites: Signs include thick, wrinkled, or shrunken leaves
  • Aphids: Tiny bugs that feast on new growth
  • Spider mites: Mites that live under leaves, turning them yellow

Natural Pest Control for Snapdragon

In some cases, natural pest control for Snapdragon plants is possible.8 If you have snails and slugs like many gardeners, the easiest solution is to start picking these off by hand.

These pests, as well as some aphids and mites, can also be deterred with a strong spray of water from a garden hose.

If natural methods don’t work, turn to chemical treatments to save your plants. Use miticides, horticultural oils, or insecticidal soaps to kill insects and mites.

Remember to read all instructions and apply as directed for safety.

To completely eliminate an infestation, you may need to apply treatments to your Snapdragon plants two or more times, but if you care for these lovely flowers, they will reward your landscape with gorgeous blooms.

Frequently Asked Questions About Snapdragon

Do Snapdragons Come Back Every Year?

In their native regions of the Middle East, North Africa, and the Mediterranean, Snapdragons are perennials, returning each year despite the above-ground parts dying off in winter.7 However, in North America and other areas where they are not native, Snapdragons act as annuals and need to be replanted each year.

Why Is It Called Dog Flower?

Snapdragons get their name from their scientific name, Antirrhinum, which comes from the Greek for “like snout.”9 While in North America, the name Snapdragons refers to how the flower’s “jaws” can snap closed, in India they are known as Dog Flowers for a similar reason, though the mistaken belief that they treated rabid dog bites actually pertains to dog roses, not Snapdragons.

What Are Trailing Snapdragons?

Despite their name, Trailing Snapdragons are an entirely different plant species than the standard garden Snapdragons. Known as Maurandya scandens,10 and sometimes called Snap vine, Climbing vine, or Creeping vine, they feature Snapdragon-like flowers on vines that can grow as long as 9 feet.

Is There Any Snapdragon Symbolism?

Snapdragons are seen as a symbol of deception,11 so this is probably not the flower to give to your romantic partner.

How Is This Flower Pollinated?

Snapdragons can only be pollinated by large bees that can force their way between the closed “jaws” of the flowers.5 Small bees aren’t strong enough for this.


1N.C. Cooperative Extension. (2023). Antirrhinum majus. NC State Extension. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

2Lofgren, K. (2022, March 28). 23 of the Best Snapdragon Varieties to Grow at Home. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

3N.C. Cooperative Extension. (2023). Angelonia angustifolia. NC State Extension. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

4U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2023). 2023 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. USDA. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

5Iannotti, M. (2022, October 6). Snapdragons: Plant Care & Growing Guide. The Spruce. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

6Carter, K. (2023). Snapdragons. University of California Cooperative Extension. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

7Browning, S. (2016). 2019- The Year of Snapdragon. Nebraska Extension. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

8Connecticut State. (2023). Snapdragon (Antirrhinum). The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

9Huo, H., & Chen, J. (2021, September 20). Planting and Propagation of Snapdragons in Florida. UF IFAS Extension. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

10Iannotti, M. (2022, February 3). How to Grow and Care for Snapdragon Vine. The Spruce. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

11VanDerZanden, A. M. (2023, January). Flowers and Their Meanings: The Language of Flowers. Iowa State University. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

12Species Information Image: A bunch of flowers that are in a pot Photo by Joy (@joyqalipai). (2023, August 1) / Unsplash License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved December 26, 2023, from <>

13P1000532 Antirrhinum majus (Snapdragon) (Scrophulariaceae) Leaf Photo by Magnus Manske. (2009, July 26) / CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. Cropped and added image, text, shape, and background elements. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved December 28, 2023, from <>

14A.majus-seeds-1 Photo by Philmarin. (2013, May 20) / CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED | Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International. Cropped and added image, text, shape, and background elements. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved December 28, 2023, from <>

15Narrowleaf angelonia, Summer snapdragon, Angel flower Photo by Bishnu Sarangi (sarangib). (2014, May 17) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

16Common snapdragons, Orange flowers, Flowers Photo by Photorama. (2022, July 16) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

17Flower, Snapdragon, Beautiful flowers Photo by Orna (OrnaW). (2020, April 11) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>

18Nature, Flower flowers, Red Photo by Rohit Singh (rohitsingh_88). (2018, August 16) / Pixabay Content License. Resized. Pixabay. Retrieved December 29, 2023, from <>