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Snapdragons are simply irresistible

Hybridization has brought new heat-tolerance, cold-tolerance, sturdy habits, and stunning colors to snapdragons, making them irresistible to gardeners.

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One of the most unusual but beautiful snapdragons is the Twinny Peach, a double-flowered selection. Its rare peach color gives a nostalgic look to the landscape, and it reaches about 12 inches tall.

Norman Winter/MSU Extension Service/MCT

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No matter where you live in the country, there is a season when snapdragons will absolutely steal the show in your landscape. In zones 7 and warmer, many gardeners plant them in the fall as pansy partners. They are planted in late winter to early spring in colder areas where they give riotous colors almost all summer.

The snapdragon is native to Europe and the Mediterranean, and is known botanically as

Antirrhinum majus.
Improved breeding has made these flowers surprisingly tough — those planted in the fall in zone 7 southward will bloom through May and into June.

My favorite varieties 10 years ago were Sonnet and Liberty. The only thing that has changed since then is that Liberty followed in the footsteps of Coke and became known as Liberty Classic.

Both of these varieties get from 24 to 30 inches tall in the garden. This is perfect for those of us who do not want to mess with any structural support. I say that, but believe me, I am mesmerized when I see a good display of the old-fashioned Rockets topping out at 4 feet.

Ten to 12 years ago, my favorite dwarf snapdragon was Tahiti, but the Montego series captured the market because of its sturdy habit. A lot of dwarf snaps had a tendency to almost fall over or have a little spread, but the Montego series that gets about 12 inches tall held their flowers erect, mimicking the habit of Sonnet and Liberty on a much shorter scale.

You can mass plant the Montego series almost as you would pansies, creating sizzling cool-season landscape combinations.

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