Pacific Northwest

March, 2014
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Snapdragons, like many garden flowers, have a long history of enjoyment. Children love opening the jaw of the flower and watching it snap shut. The Latin name for snapdragon is Antirrhinum majus. "Anti" in Greek means "like," and "rhinos" means "snout."
Their erect spikes are covered with buds that open gradually from the bottom to the top, providing color for an extended period of time. Snapdragons flower best in full sun or light shade and should be planted in rich, well-drained soil. Prepare the soil by breaking up large clumps and amending heavy soils with compost or peat moss. The root system is quite fine and can easily be damaged by deep cultivation. A layer of organic mulch around the plants will conserve moisture as well as prevent weed growth. Tall varieties of snaps need to be staked to prevent breakage. Staking should be done early in the season. Tie the stem to the stake with soft cloth.


Pruning sounds simple enough, but it can confound even the most competent gardeners. The Pruning Book by Lee Reich (Taunton Press, 2010) explains the do's and dont's of cutting back everything from houseplants to exotics. You'll learn how to make the right cut every time. There are more than 250 photographs and 135 drawings to illustrate the techniques. Reich holds a doctorate in horticulture and has done extensive research on the subject, enabling him to make pruning easily understood by all.

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