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How To Prune Snapdragons in 9 Easy Steps

Snapdragons are a popular flower to plant in the garden, with their colorful flowers and ability to last from season to season. However, these plants require regular pruning to stay at their best.

Read on for a step-by-step guide on how to prune snapdragons and keep them healthy and looking great.

The snapdragon is a flowering plant that gets its name from the dragon-like flowers it produces. Place your fingers gently on either side of a snapdragon blossom to see what it’s named after.

Squeeze the upper and lower bloom lips together until they open and snap like a dragon’s jaws. Flower clusters range from solid vivid hues to multicolored blooms, making Snapdragons a show-stopper.

The snapdragon has a height range of 6 to 48 inches, making it suited for most flower gardens. The snapdragon produces many brilliant flowers on a strong plant with only light pruning.

The Snapdragon plant, or Antirrhinum majus, is a perennial that blooms in the summer with pink, red, orange, and yellow colors. They are often used for cutting because their flowers last longer.

This flower is known to grow up to 12 inches tall and prefers full sunlight or partial shade. Snapdragons are usually planted in the spring after the danger of frost.

The soil should be well-drained and rich in nutrients, with hardiness zones of 7 to 10. Snapdragons are also fairly easy to care for, making them a good flower choice for gardeners who are new to plants or are busy.

How To Prune Snapdragons
Snapdragons via Pixabay

Things You Will Need

A Guide on How To Prune Snapdragons

Early in the season, prune immature plants. If the snapdragon grows unchecked, it will become a lanky plant. As a result, the plant’s delicate stems are prone to rain and wind damage.

Pruning makes the plant more resilient to the whims of seasonal weather, and it’s a cool-season favorite. Prune snapdragons when they have finished blooming and are beginning to look tired.

Give plants a spring trim after the blooming season is over, cutting them back to around 6 inches tall to promote bushier growth. Never cut the snapdragon plant down to the ground level in colder areas, as this can kill it. Here’s how to prune snapdragons.

  1. Measure 9 parts water and 1 part bleach into a bucket. Every time you cut the infected or damaged spot, this mixture will disinfect your scissors.
  2. Pinch or trim stem tips when the young plant is around 6 inches tall to encourage secondary and side stem growth. This branching encourages the plant to become bushier and fuller.
  3. Examine the snapdragons carefully for spent blooms, withering foliage, and wilted petals on the flower stems. Plant stalks that are starting to generate seed pods should also be noted.
  4. Sort the stems according to their properties. Most snapdragons have a single core stalk with lesser stems at the base. Consider trimming this and other types during the vegetative stage by cutting the full-flowering stem down towards the next main flowering stem or half to two-thirds of its length. This will provide you with fresh-cut flowers for bouquets or table centerpieces while encouraging new plant growth.
  5. Repeat with the remaining stems after sterilizing your scissors. Don’t forget to get rid of any withering leaves as well.
  6. Cut back all the dead flowers from the past season. Remove any yellow or brown leaves, as these can catch mold or fungus, spreading to healthy leaves.
  7. Shearing the mature plant back to approximately 6 inches tall when it is well into its spring blossoming and showing symptoms of languishing. Fertilize the plants and give them plenty of water. It will usually bounce back and repay you by reblooming in late summer or autumn.
  8. Finish pruning at the end of the season in the autumn. In mild areas, Snapdragons are perennial, but they rarely survive a strong frost. If you want the plant to live and grow back after the winter, cut it back severely and mulch it well except for a few seeding stalks, cut to ground level in colder areas. Mulch the plant and allow it to self-seed the next season.
  9. Place these pruned stems, dead flowers and leaves in a garbage bag or compost them in your garden.

These plants also benefit from a light trim every year after their initial planting, cutting them down by half to promote bushier growth.

This practice will keep the snapdragons lush and healthy throughout the growing season, ensuring that they will produce plenty of blooms for you to enjoy in your garden or home.

If you have any questions about how to prune snapdragons, consult your local nursery professional.

Care Tips to Follow After Pruning Snapdragons

  • Water them after pruning, especially if they were cut back severely, to ensure that they recover quickly.
  • If the plant is becoming choked by weeds or other pests, remove these as well.
  • Throw out or compost leaves and stems after pruning, and always wear gardening gloves for protection.
  • Never use a power tool like a chainsaw or weed whacker, as these can uproot the plant, damage it and injure you.
  • Please place them in full sun, with soil having a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and plenty of water, but not soggy soil.
  • Fertilize your snapdragons every time you water them, using a fertilizer that is higher in phosphorus than nitrogen.
  • These plants enjoy growing on hillsides and rocky, limestone slopes, where they are more resistant to pests and disease.

Health hazards of Pruning Snapdragons

  • If you are pruning snapdragons with dirty hands, washing your hands after pruning is always necessary.
  • Also, make sure that you are not wearing any loose clothing while pruning snapdragons. As if you accidentally brush your arm against the plant, it could lead to the prick of thorns.

Final Remarks

Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are popular with gardeners because they make excellent bedding plants and are easy to grow. They are a cool-season favorite, which means they do best in spring and fall.

Pruning snapdragons at the right time is important to keep your flowers looking fresh and full in the garden. The snapdragon plant is an annual herbaceous variety of the Antirrhinum genus of flowers, with a distinctive “snap” that happens when its mouth-like petals are fully open.

It is a common fixture in North American gardens, and there are many different types of varieties.

The most commonly used method is cutting them back when they become too tall for their good. Since they are in the snapdragon family, flowers will likely develop at the junction where individual stems meet. Therefore, cutting them back to nine inches will prompt them to grow new flowering stalks.

If you want the plants to survive and bloom again next season, it is important to prune them after the first blooming period is over.

This is likely in late summer or fall, which will require you to cut them down to about six inches. If you let the plants flower for a while, but they aren’t blooming enough, cut them back by half at the beginning of summer.

The plants will rebound and produce more flowers to enjoy in your garden. It’s also important to remove the spent flowers and leaves to attract fungus or mold that can harm the plants.

Now that you have learned how to prune snapdragons don’t be afraid to experiment with pruning snapdragons at different times of the year to see what produces the healthiest plants and most abundant flowers.