These new snapdragons aren't just fantastic they're simply Snaptastic, and they fill a void longed for in the market. Snaptastic a new series coming from Syngenta is considered medium in height reaching 14 to 16 inches.
Snapdragons are planted in the fall in much of the country so as you shop you'll most likely see these riotous colors tempting you. Snaptastic finds itself right in the middle of Montego one of the best dwarfs that reach 8 to 10 inches tall and Liberty Classic that hits 24 inches.
Each year I was thrilled to go to the California Pack Trials as it was called then and see an acre of snapdragons growing in the field next to Syngenta Flowers headquarters. It was a sight that would always deliver that Kodak moment. Even then it was apparent that breeding would be allowing a full range of heights.
The snapdragon is native to Europe and the Mediterranean and is known botanically as Antirrhinum majus. No matter where you live and whether you garden in the landscape or container there is a snapdragon season for you. In addition to staggering beauty in a range of colors, you will also find they are resistant to roving deer populations.
So whether you will be doing a spring planting or one this fall, snapdragons are like pansies and prefer a fertile organic-rich soil in full sun for best bloom production. Incorporate 3 to 4 inches of organic matter tilling to a depth of 8 to 10 inches or use a prepared landscape mix.
While doing your soil preparation apply 2 pounds of a slow-release 12-6-6 or balanced fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area. Many new fertilizers also have a fungicide incorporated that helps reduce some of the most prevalent diseases.
Set transplants into the garden at the recommended spacing for your variety. This would be 8 to 12 inches for Snaptastic. Apply a generous layer of mulch to keep soil temperatures moderate for the long growing season ahead. A little fertilizer every two to three weeks will keep them growing.
Snapdragons are more cold hardy than many realize. Once established in the landscape and hardened off they are quite capable of taking subfreezing temperatures. Even if record cold moves in they can be completely covered with pine straw for a few days with no problem.
Snaptastic is available in five vibrant colors, yellow, orange flame, red, magenta that looks fit for royalty and a luscious pink. These are also combined in a showy mix. You'll love Snaptastic as a pansy partner, grown with violas and flowering kale and cabbage. They are most dazzling when planted in mass in front of a backdrop of evergreen shrubs. Don't forget the opportunities to use with spring bulbs.
Snapdragons don't require much care, a little deadheading of spent blooms, watering during dry spells, a little water-soluble fertilizer, and mulching for winter protection. The incredible display of color is sure to bring you joy and make your neighbors green with envy.
(Norman Winter is director of the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at the Historic Bamboo Farm, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and author of "Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South" and "Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden." Follow him at: @CGBGgardenguru.)
(c)2017 Norman Winter
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