Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Snapdragons are one of the much-loved cut flowers. For 2010 there are a number of new varieties available.
The Aroma snapdragon series seeds are available from Stokes. This new series is very early to bloom. They begin flowering about three weeks earlier than most comparable varieties. With a uniform growth habit, the Aroma snapdragons have tall, upright, well branched stems that reach two feet in height. The delightful blooms have a wonderful fragrance, which explains the series’ name.
The seed is available as a formula mix as well as separate colors. The colors include, French Vanilla, Fresh Lemon, Red Spice, Sweet Pink, Peach Breeze, Magenta Mist, and Orchid Bliss.
Eternal snapdragon is a new pink flowering cultivar. Eternal blooms throughout the summer. It has large, deep pink blossoms adorned with a tinge of orange at the center. The sturdy, bushy plants have strong stems. This snapdragon is notable because of its lovely variegated foliage, which acts as a lovely background for the flowers. Plants will be available at garden centers and other sources. Unlike some snapdragons, this can be grown as a perennial in some parts of the country.
The Opus series of snapdragons were bred for cut flowers. These can bloom throughout the growing season from spring through fall, depending on when the seeds are planted. Opus has large, stately spikes that are covered with tightly spaced, shapely blooms. With a delicate fragrance, these can be bought as a formula seed mix or in 14 separate colors.
The Opus snapdragons include Opus Red, a new, richly colored, medium red. The series includes 14 colors in all as well as a mix. Among the colors are solids as well as several bicolors, including Plum Blossom and Apple Blossom.
The snapdragons have a vase life of about one to two weeks. They’re used as a medium line flower. The stems have a tendency to bend away from gravity. Snapdragons are ready to harvest when the blooms on the lower third of a stem have fully opened.
It is best to start snapdragon seeds indoors about 2˝ months before the last expected frost. At around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will germinate in about one to two weeks. Don’t cover the seeds as they need light in order to germinate.
In the cutting garden snapdragon plants are adapted to full sun and partial shade. They prefer a fertile, well drained soil.