Snapdragons make a beautiful addition to any garden. These flowers are annuals that grow in rows on a spiked stem. They are called snapdragons because they make a snapping noise when pinched. You can transplant snapdragons or start them from seed. Keep in mind that snapdragons can take up to three weeks to germinate, and you have to keep them warm during the three week germination period. Most people decide to start snapdragons from seeds to save money. The following will provide you some tips to start your snapdragon seeds.
Step 1 - Starting the Seeds
Pour vermiculite into 2-inch starter pots and level the surface. You will have to start the seeds indoors about eight weeks before you expect the final spring frost.
Sprinkle the snapdragon seeds on the vermiculite, carefully pressing the seeds into the soil. Don't put extra vermiculite over the seeds.
Take an old cake pan or a shallow container and fill it with 1 inch of water. Place the potted seeds in the water, making sure the water in the pan comes halfway up the sides of the pots. Keep these pots in the water until the vermiculite becomes wet.
When the surface of the vermiculite is damp, take the pots out of the water and put them in a dry container so that any leftover moisture can drain. You should only water the plants when the surface of the vermiculite is dry. At this point, the seeds will take about three weeks to germinate.
Step 2 - Transfer to Seed-Starting Mat
After three weeks have passed, put the starter pots on a heated seed-starting mat. Place the mat in a safe and warm location, out of the way. Snapdragon seeds require a lot of warmth in order to properly germinate.
Once the seeds begin to germinate, move them under fluorescent grow lights, placing the lights a few inches over the plants. Once the plants begin to grow, you can move the lights higher up.
Step 3 - Harden the Seedlings
Approximately two weeks before the last frost is set to arrive, harden off the snapdragon seedlings. Do this by placing the plants outside in a shady area for a longer period of time every day, eventually leaving them outside the whole day. If you expect frost, cover the plants or bring them inside the house. When frost is no longer a threat, you can transplant the snapdragons into your garden.
You can buy vermiculite at a garden center or home improvement store. Remember, although snapdragons thrive in the cool temperatures of early spring, they can die in frosty conditions. During the hot summer months, the plants will shrink. They will grow again in the cool fall weather, as long as you prune them.
If you have children, it's important to know that snapdragons are toxic when eaten. Supervise children when they are playing outside if you have these flowers in your garden.