Losing Mass Planting of Snapdragons

KlutteryApril 24, 2014

A few weeks ago I planted a large bed of snapdragons, maybe two feet wide and thirty feet long, at the curb edge of my lawn. A few of the plants were nicely sized (three inch pots), although most were in those little eight-pack containers.

They looked beautiful for about a week, and then we got a freaky cold spell for two nights, one of which dropped all the way into freezing digits.

The small plants didn't die but did drop all their flowers. The larger ones didn't really seem affected.

Now the small ones look pitiful, as their leaves are beginning to wilt. We've had a lot of rain, and the plants sit in full sun.

Could the one freezing night have weakened them? Is it all the rain or too much sun?

Please help. I really love these plants and, admittedly, don't want to replant the bed.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I would think snapdragons should be able to handle freezing temps, though they might be more susceptible to stress if they weren't hardened off and were also recently transplanted. Those stresses, plus the heavy rain may have been just the wrong combination. All you can do is hope for the best. I have zillions of snapdragon seeds you are welcome to, if you want to throw seeds down instead of buying new plants. Though, they wouldn't bloom until late summer.



    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, Martha.

At this point, I'm really at a lost. I don't know if I should water them or not. I'll inspect the soil tomorrow and see how it feels, as I once read that soil close to concrete dries out faster. Perhaps all the rain we've had hasn't been as much as I thought.

I also found a similar thread here that suggests cutting the plants back to the nodes. Maybe I'll try that.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 8:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you determine water needs by inserting your finger.. and finding out if the soil is moist and inch or two down ... if it is.. adding more water accomplishes nothing ..

sounds like cold damage ..

were these plants properly hardened off??? did you grow them indoors .,.. did you buy them from inside a greenhouse?? ...

it is not uncommon.. for cold damage.. to 'show' .... days.. or weeks later ... one might think.. it was slight damage.. but damage none the less ...

all you can do is wait ...

i bet you jumped the gun on planting .. perhaps you should have waited a week or two ... and surely this long lingering spring.. didnt help in that equation ... so.. a lesson for next year.. and do mind.. just because you found them.. and bought them.. doenst mean they had to be planted that day.. they could have been held over for a week or so ...

its hard to go much further w/o a pic..

good luck


    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Carolinaflowerlover NC Zone 7b

What zone are you in? I bought a LOT on clearance in the fall, figuring they would make it through our normally mild winter. Yeah....our winter was NOT mild. Lol The snaps looked awful, and I was sure I wasted my money as I clipped them down. Guess what I have a bunch of right now? :) I still had to pull some, but more made it and became lush plants than I expected. I would cut them down some and wait, unless you are in a hurry to pull them. Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paul_(z5 MI)

As has been mentioned, seeds can be sown and, while you will have a bit of a wait, you'd still get flowers before summer is over.

That said, I wouldn't worry too much. I've had snaps over winter year after year. Yes, some of what I'd find would be reseedings, but many were the prior summer's plants. Wasn't uncommon for me to get 3-4yrs out of a plant. Finally ripped them all out only because I had gotten tired of them.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

You don't mention watering them at all. Did you water them in after planting? And even if it has been raining it might still not be enough for newly planted plants. I would give them a really thorough soaking. They are in the ground so it's well nigh impossible to overwater them.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

You mention the larger (three inch) were alright. I expect the smaller ones (from the eight packs) were root bound and not able to benefit from water in the garden soil. They were still on their own, as though still in their containers. I would apply the water directly on the individual plants. Al

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 4:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks to everyone for posting feedback.

A few days after my initial post, we had one more night of freaky weather: Five inches of rain in only three or four hours accompanied with very strong winds.

The following temperatures cooled for a few days then returned to normal and sunny. The snapdragons, although flowerless except for the larger ones, began to show new growth and new flower buds.

I'm inclined to agree with Ken that they suffered cold damage. I'm hoping it's nothing permanent, but for the moment it looks like they've recovered.

My only problem now is how to deadhead these things. The new buds are growing on top of the spent flowers, which means I can't snip the stem without losing the new buds.

Am I resigned to simply picking the dead flowers by hand? Is there no other less-tedious way?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Five inches of rain ..... so they finally got the thorough watering some of us suggested they needed and they perked up as we suspected they would. For future reference you now know newly planted plants need very generous watering after planting out.

Don't bother to cut off individual seed pods. Just cut back the whole flower stem when all the flowers on it have finished.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 2:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Unfortunately, snapdragons are designed in such a way that the new flowers develop above the old ones. Fortunately, this means that they can be blooming, still, and also setting seed for future plants. Not so much fun for meticulous fans of dead-heading.


    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Don't bother to cut off individual seed pods. Just cut back the whole flower stem when all the flowers on it have finished."

That's precisely what I'm trying to avoid doing. Cutting the whole stem means removing the new buds with the old. Maybe I'll just leave them alone until they reach their mature height. Once they stop putting out new buds, I'll then cut them back and see if they renew their growth.

Thanks everyone for the input. This board is wonderful.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 6:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Note that I said

" ...... when all the flowers on it have finished....."

That's the same as your saying

"Once they stop putting out new buds"

So you would not be cutting off new flowers. That's just how snapdragons grow and there's no way around it, as docmom explained.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 4:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I misunderstood. My apologies, and thank you for the feedback.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
paul_(z5 MI)

As I recall, snaps usually produce a fairly prodigious number of blooms early on in the spikes flowering but then, as the spike gets longer, the number of new buds starts to drop off drastically. Not terribly surprising as at a certain point, most of the plant's energy gets redirected to seed development instead of towards making new buds.

I would suggest NOT waiting until "no more buds" are developing. Instead, I would recommend removing the entire flower spike when you notice the number of new buds being formed is slowing down. (Usually once you see around a dozen -- give or take -- seedpods developing.) Doing so can spur the plant on to developing a new flower stalk.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 12:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I had the feeling the OP was not keen on sacrificing any flowers so I didn't mention that feature paul. But you are right that at some point it's probably sensible to cut your losses and prune them back.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 1:41PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Transplanting larkspur seedlings (zone 7)?
There are many larkspur seedlings of various stages...
loveswindowsanddogs_gw gw
Shade annuals in 8a
I am looking for some annuals for beds facing NNE in...
Beth9116 zone 8a TX
What seeds are you starting this year?
I am already planning what seeds I will be starting...
Linda's Garden z6 Utah
we are doing a whole series of posts in the perennial...
ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
Best medium for starting seeds
In a previous thread I was advised to use a seed starting...
Sponsored Products
Stained Glass Sunflowers Tiffany Style Table Lamps
Hydro Systems Bathtubs Harrisburg 5.8 ft. Back Drain Freestanding Bathtub
Home Depot
Blue Scallop Drum Table
$109.99 | zulily
Progress Lighting Spotlights Low Voltage LED 20-watt Equivalent Black Landscape
Home Depot
Rondo 40 Self Watering Planter by Lechuza
$239.99 | Lumens
Vanda Orchid Faux Floral - PURPLE/WHITE
$305.00 | Horchow
Design Element DEC360-DS Galatian 88-in. Double Bathroom Vanity Set - DEC360-DS
Design Element DEC015B Huntington 36-in. Single Bathroom Vanity - DEC015B
$875.00 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™