This is my third attempt to grow snapdragons, and they are dying on me. I have tried ground planting and containers - same result. The rest of the plants are happy, and snappies are not as much so.
Did you grow these snapdragons from seed, or purchase them as plants?
I always purchase them as plants. They look wilted. I went to the store I purchased them from and asked the salesperson what the problem might be. He said most probably it is lack of water. But I DO water them enough. The rest of my flowers are OK. I fertilised them, too. I am clueless...
Could be many things. Poor plants to start with. Or perhaps the roots were very thickly congested in the cell pack or pot and you didn't break them up upon planting.
Seems unlikely anything connected to weather at this time of year would bother them.
I start mine by seed on Labor Day. Transplant into 6 packs, one sprout to a cell, once they get a couple leaves, then pinch the heck out of them to make them bushy. I just put them out on the deck through Winter, fully exposed, until I plant them out usually in late Winter. They certainly didn't mind recent lows of 20 degrees. We haven't had much rain so I have had to watch them carefully and give some water occasionally.
Try to get your money back or exchange them. Also, when buying most plants, pop the plant out of the container and check that the roots are looking good. Too many roots, wrapped around and around is definitely not good.
If this is the third time you have tried them; you might also look at your soil and position in the garden. Are they getting enough sun? Are they in good soil; or hard, clay soil? Snapdragons are easy to grow, but you must give them sun and friable soil. Once they are in the ground, go easy on fertiliser until they have established themselves for a few weeks.
I have grown snapdragons for years. They take awhile to adjust to high light levels; outdoor sun...they 'wilt' in hot sun and heat until they adjust.
I 'harden' them off gradually. Once they stop their 'wilting' nonsense, I transplant to the garden.
Were these plants from a greenhouse?
I have grown snaps from seed and from purchased plants...all wilted until they adjusted to outdoor life. I put them under a row cover of polyspun stuff to gradually get them used to outdoor light levels.
You might now be over watering-especially if you think the wilt is from lack of water.
I think I will give them a chance to come back to life. So far they don't look too hot. They are in a window box in a very light and porous container soil.
Thank you all for great suggestions!
I'm wondering since you live in zone 8, if it isn't the heat. Snapdragons prefer cooler weather, and some shade in the afternoon.
Since you have them in a box with light potting soil, it's probably not overwatering. If it's warm at all, they probably need water everyday in that situation. I think it's likely they didn't get hardened off well for being in direct sun. They need a gradual process of getting exposed to full sunlight, like Franeli said above.
When I lived in zone 9 in California, we'd plant snaps in September (little ones from six-packs), and they would grow through the fall and usually flower all through the winter. But they started getting hammered in late April and May from the heat and usually would not survive to June or I'd rip them out and put other annuals in.
Anyway, if your planter box is small, and if the soil is too porous, it might not hold enough moisture to keep them happy. You might want to buy some potting mix that has a moisture control additive in it. Bayer makes a soil like that, and I'll put a link below. You might also put some kind of topping or mulch on top of the soil, like that dried moss stuff or shredded coconut stuff (coir). That will help reduce the water loss and keep the soil cooler for the roots.
Here is a link that might be useful: Potting soil with moisture control
I've wintersown all of my Snapdragons. In my zone they are perennial and don't care how hot it gets in summer (90+) and don't mind a little drought after they get good and established. Snapdragons don't fare too well in humidity/heat. If it's cool and humid at night and warmer/humid in the day snaps can suffer from Downy Mildew and other fungal diseases. It doesn't necessarily need to be wet weather if the humidity is 85% plus.
Do a google search for snaps and Downy Mildew and see if this is the issue....should be able to find some pics. Basically leaves start to curl in and have a sickly yellow-green color; over-all looks pretty droopy. Look on the undersides for fungal growth. If spores are released they can remain in the soil until favorable conditions are met.
I grow them in different areas in my garden beds and always had luck. The last couple years I found the Angelonias and really love them. You might take a stab at them.
I grew Angelonias once and loved them. They did really well in container. Are they a cool temp flowers? I planted snapdragons because I wanted a flowering plant in a wintertime.
Natalie - I grew Angelonia last year in the ground, and loved them, too. They did well for me in cooler temperatures....once the temps and humidity started rising, they punked out and I removed them. So, for me, they were a cool weather flower. You're in zone 8 like I am, so I'd guess they'd also be a cool weather flower in your garden.
My snaps do well in the ground - I've never tried them in containers - but they also don't like our hot summers...they're stunning in late winter and most of the spring...come the hotter temps of early summer they look simply horrible and I pull them. However, all the snaps I've grown for the past couple of years have been volunteers from the previous years' plants. They self-sow freely and seem to be healthier than those I planted the first time from the store-bought cell packs. And as others have stated, they do seem to appreciate a bit of shade during the hottest part of the day in our area....morning sun is good....direct hot afternoon sun makes mine wilty.
I'm including a photo I took of a group of snap volunteers in my garden early last season...they were already trying to crowd out my fescue, which I eventually had to move. The snaps grew to about 18" tall and hogged that part of the garden bed you see in the photo. Some of them survived and bloomed this winter, underneath a large clump of pampass grass I now have in that bed...they were real happy there in the filtered winter sunlight. And I have tons of new snap seedlings out in that bed right now...all volunteers. I did have some pics of the Angelonia I grew last year, but I wasn't able to find them for this post.
Good Luck with your snaps!
I do love volunteers in my garden. Renee, your snaps are gorgeous! I wonder if I choke my volunteers by adding an inch of mulch every fall.
Thank you for the lovely photo. I think I will give snaps another chance.
My snapdragons are dying, too, starting at the bottom. This is the second year they have done that.
Natalie--Are your snaps wilted all the time or just in the heat of the day? Snaps are a tender perennial that likes cooler weather. They tend to wilt in the heat of the day and snap back when it cools off. The seed needs to freeze for optimal germination. It may be that you'll have to move them to a shadier location and get something else that will stand up to the heat for your planters.
I have had volunteers in my zone 3 garden and the occasional one winter over. If I lived in some of your zones I'd gather some seed and spread them on top of the ground in a small plot after it freezes. Then transplant them where I want them and enjoy them as spring and early summer flowers.
PBH--If yours are dieing from the bottom up I think you hqave a fungal disease. Snaps are suseptible to rust so get a fungicide good for that fungal disease.
Wishing everyone a lovely garden this year
PHB--sorry I got your name wrong.
Pick off any brown dead leaves and clean up any that have fallen on the ground. The disease is in the soil. Water hits the soil and splashes on the bottom leaves and infects them. Then water splashes on those leaves and on to another carrying the spores of the disease with them and infects them. The leaves fall on the ground and the spores are absorbed back into the ground. Don't let that happen and the infection goes away. You need it to because snaps aren't the only ones suseptible.
When you water don't wet the leaves just the ground. You can't do much about the rain except spray then after they dry. You may have to spray more than once to kill it.
I had a chance to purchase probably a hundred containers of snaps on clearance. Was not planning on getting them and was reluctant, but they came as a package deal with dianthus, which I did want. So, I planted them in fall not expecting much, and they are just thriving! Surprise! Sometimes the less you care, the better they do.
Don't know how they will behave in a summer - so far so good. Every one of them survived.
Natalie, I always plant snapdragons with the cool weather annuals like pansies and dianthas in the fall (late Oct. to early Nov.). They strengthen their root systems through the winter and bloom in late spring, which this year, is right now. As soon as hot weather moves in, they will decline and die. This year, it appears that will be next week.
Because they don't bloom through the winter, and because the hot weather inevitably moves in on them just as they are blooming in spring, and because the pansies are always spent by the time they bloom anyway, I have decided to stop growing them. I have penstemon tenuis in my borders that blooms earlier and far longer and is perennial to boot. It has become my spring blooming spiky plant instead of the snaps.
Dianthus acts as perennials in my garden. Is there a chance snaps will re-appear next year? Or I can get rid of them as they decline and replace with something more permanent?
Annuals get my attention only if they re-seed, if the sale is too good to pass up, or they are given to me as a gift, or I fall in love with their fragrance/appearance and absolutely positively have to have them.
Donna, penstemon tenuis is a lovely flower - I had to google it, and chances are there might be one in my garden, that I purchased last year from Bluestone Perennials. Hopefully it will come back this year - so far I have not seen it.
I WS my snaps. They work out well. I always pinch back when the plants start looking weak or leggy.