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Greenhouse Production of Bedding Plant Snapdragons


napdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are enchanting and delightful flowers that have been enjoyed for centuries. these mediterranean natives have many pleasing attributes, from their delectable fragrance to their full range of heights and colors. they are popular as bedding and container plants and as cut flowers. the upright flower shoots are covered with buds that open from bottom to top, providing brilliant color for an extended period of time. snapdragons perform best in the landscape in cool weather, and most cultivars can even tolerate a light frost. they tend to suffer in the summer heat of the southeastern united states, and, therefore, are typically used as fall or early spring annuals. snapdragons flower the best in full sun and well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. they range in size from 4 inches to 2 to 3 feet tall, depending on the cultivar. Flower colors range from white and yellow to orange, red, and purple to almost black. the only color missing is true blue.

snapdragons are classified by height into three categories: dwarf, medium, and tall. dwarf plants grow to be 6 to 12 inches tall in a dense, bushy habitat and produce abundant flower shoots. these cultivars commonly are used in the landscape for border edging or in mixed containers. in greenhouse production, they are grown in 36-cell market packs or 4-inch pots. the medium-sized plants grow to be 12 to 24 inches tall and often are used as border fillers or as cut flowers. in greenhouse production, they are grown in 36-cell market packs or 4-inch or larger pots. tall cultivars have a dominant, single flower shoot, grow to be 24 to 48 inches tall, and mostly are used as cut flowers, but also may be used in the back of a border. these are not often grown for bedding application. there also are trailing types of snapdragons often used in containers and hanging baskets. some of the best trailing snaps are the luminaire series. An unusual butterfly-type flower can be found in the bell and la bella series in which the conventional floral tube is flared at the end, giving the flower a more open appearance. because of the more recent introduction of dwarf and mediumsized plants, snapdragons have become more popular as bedding and edging plants than their more traditional roles of background and cut-flower plants. this publication will focus on snapdragons commonly grown for greenhouse

production in either market flats or containers and used primarily as bedding or flowering potted plants. series and cultivars of snapdragons for bedding plant and pot culture are in table 1.

Seed Propagation
Stage 1
snapdragon seeds are very small but readily germinate under proper conditions. seeds should be sown in 406cell plug flats containing sterile germination media with medium moisture content and a pH between 5.5 and 5.8. A higher pH can cause iron deficiency in snapdragons. the substrate temperature should be kept between 64 and 68 degrees F; temperatures higher than 75 degrees F can delay germination. because snapdragon seedlings are


this stage requires 7 to 14 days. Once a week. Trailing Cultivars trailing snapdragons. do this in a timely manner to avoid stunting growth. two pinches. reduce moisture levels to encourage roots to penetrate the media. remove flats from the seed germination chamber. Fertilizer also can be increased to 100 to 150 parts per million nitrogen weekly by alternating 20-10-20 with 15-0-15. use intermittent mist to maintain humidity around cuttings. transplant the seedlings when roots easily hold the plug mass together and have two to three sets of true leaves. but the most economical crops are produced at cool temperatures.000 footcandles. two Stage 3 lower soil temperatures to 62 to 65 degrees F by night. if used. and increase fertilization to twice weekly. removable shade is an easy method for adjusting light levels as cuttings mature.6 to 5.500 footcandles. if unrooted cuttings cannot be planted immediately. to 1.000 to 2. Rhizoctonia. light levels should increase to 450 to 1. contact the seed supplier for specific cultivar recommendations. Apply fertilizer twice weekly at 150 to 200 parts per million nitrogen alternating between 20-10-20 and 15-0-15 formulations.or 36-cell flats and also do well in 4-inch pots or in groups of three to five plants in a 1-gallon container. maintain substrate temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees F. shear plants to maintain shape. growers should buy unrooted cuttings or rooted liners. and ammonium levels should be kept at less than 5 parts per million. and light levels should be increased to 1. during this stage. reduce the mist as roots form. when they begin to emerge. temperatures should be 72 to 75 degrees F during the day and 62 to 65 degrees F at night. roots should develop 7 to 14 days after sowing.very sensitive to high soluble salts. avoid ammonium-based fertilizer if growing below 65 degrees F. Full sun and sufficient ventilation will help keep stems strong. For trailing snaps.500 footcandles. which should be moist but not saturated. are propagated vegetatively. maintain high light levels at 5.000 to 6. Once flowering begins. but avoid wilting. substrate and air temperatures need to be maintained. supplement fertility with magnesium sulfate once or twice and occasionally leach them with clear water to reduce eC. However.000 to 2. and increases crop time. if stretching might be a problem. Fungicides can be applied at the lowest recommended rate to control Pythium. Growing On the key to producing appealing. For these reasons. Calluses should form in 5 to 7 days after sowing. increase fertilizer to 100 to150 parts per million nitrogen weekly. Plants may be exposed to light frost if heat is unavailable. stock plants can carry a number of latent diseases and should be virus-indexed and maintained in a clean stock system. the best trailing cultivars are patented. therefore. alternating between 20-10-20 and 14-0-14 formulations. store them for no longer than 24 hours at 50 to 60 degrees F. it is important to maintain fertilizer levels because low levels hinder plant branching.000 footcandles because low light causes stretching. 6-inch pots. Allow flats to dry between irrigations. trailing snaps should be planted in 4-inch pots or in pairs in 6-inch pots.2.75 millimhos per centimeter (2:1 extraction method). Four to five cuttings can be planted in a 10-inch hanging basket. throughout the rest of production. You may reduce night temperatures to 45 to 50 degrees F once plants establish to promote flowering. maintain water alkalinity at 60 to100 parts per million and ammonium levels at less than 10 parts per million. Choose a sterile media with a moderate initial fertilizer rate and a pH of 5. and plant height in market packs can be controlled if water and fertilizer are applied somewhat conservatively. Stage 2 After radicles emerge. Apply a foliar fertilization of 50 to 75 parts per million nitrogen using a 15-0-15 or similar fertilizer formulation as needed. Harden cuttings for 7 days before transplant or sale by decreasing air temperatures to 75 to 80 F degrees during the day and 62 to 28 degrees F at night. radicle emergence can be expected within 4 to 8 days after sowing. maintain night temperatures below 60 degrees F. and then reduce substrate moisture level. electrical conductivity (eC) should be less than 0. and dry the foliage before nightfall to prevent disease. light levels should be maintained at 500 2 Alabama Cooperative extension system . Cuttings are ready for root development once a callus has formed and 50 percent of the cuttings have differentiating root initials. and raise light levels to 1. bedding snapdragons perform best if transplanted to 18. reduces flowering. stick cuttings in Oasis wedges or in a sterile medium with a pH of 5.000 footcandles.8. and Thieleviopsis. this stage requires 14 to 21 days. Pinch trailing snaps once the roots reach the edge of the container. if possible. propagation by unlicensed propagators is illegal. light is necessary for germination of some cultivars. apply A-rest 3 to 4 weeks after sowing at a rate of 10 parts per million. Four-inch pots require one pinch. and 10-inch hanging baskets. reduce this rate when flower shoots begin to elongate to increase postharvest life.5 to 6. seeds of non-lightsensitive cultivars can be covered with a light layer of fine vermiculite to maintain adequate moisture levels next to the seed. apply 50 to 75 parts per million nitrogen using a 15-0-15 fertilizer or other low ammonium fertilizer formulation. sturdy snapdragons is cool temperatures. the frequency should be adjusted based on light levels and temperatures. media temperatures should be maintained at 68 to 72 degrees F with an air temperature of 75 to 80 degrees F during the day and 68 to 70 degrees F during the night. alternate fertilizer with clear water. Also. such as the luminaire and Playful series.

spray the plants with iron sulfate at 33 ounces per 100 gallons of water. Also. resulting in reduced iron uptake. When grown under recommended cool temperatures and high light. Height control can be a problem in bedding plant snapdragons grown from seed. trailing snapdragons that do not branch properly may not be receiving enough light or were not properly fertilized during early growth stages. dwarf types take 4 to 5 weeks from transplant to finish in market packs and 5 to 6 weeks in 4-inch pots. A high pH or a cool. and Anthracnose are common fungal diseases on snapdragons. be careful when applying pesticides to snapdragons because some are known to cause damage to flowers. symptoms should diminish within 3 to 4 days. mites. Aphids. rust.500 parts per million spray on snapdragon seedlings. water early in the day to allow foliage to dry before nightfall. Greenhouse Production of Bedding Plant Snapdragons 3 . plug crop time from seed to transplant is 5 to 6 weeks. and thrips may injure mature plants. High nitrogen concentration. if needed. some growers tank mix b-nine and Cycocel with 800 to 1. to help control foliar diseases. botrytis. Phyllosticta blight.to three pinches. if the problem is high pH. applying too much fertilizer under low light conditions. dry the substrate and increase the temperature. Troubleshooting High pH can cause stunted or uneven seedling growth or poor root development. wet substrate may cause interveinal chlorosis of immature leaves. but they may delay flowering and can cause less uniform flowering. very high pH can cause boron deficiency. Pests and Diseases snapdragons have fewer problems than many other bedding plant crops.000 of each after transplanting. avoid wetting foliage. if overhead irrigation must be used. Foliage necrosis can be caused by high eC or by the plant drying out between irrigations. if the deficiency is caused by the cool. Scheduling Crop production time varies depending on cultivar. apply A-rest as a 10 to 26 parts per million spray or b-nine as a 2. downy mildew. in general. tomato spotted wilt virus and impatiens necrotic spot virus also can be problems on vegetatively propagated snapdragons. Fungus gnats and shore fly larvae are the most common insects on seedlings. pinch taller bedding snapdragons planted in larger pots to promote branching and multiple flower shoots. wet medium. botrytis infection or chronically wet substrate can cause the plant to collapse. Pythium. You also may use bonzi as a 60 to 90 parts per million spray or sumagic as a 25 to 50 parts per million spray to control the height of snapdragons. medium-sized types take 10 to 12 weeks from transplant to finish in 4-inch pots and 12 to 13 weeks in 6-inch pots. Also. or low light and overwatering can cause excessive foliage growth. powdery mildew. carefully read the label to avoid problems. growth retardants should not be necessary.

extremely early for flowering sales Open pollinated mix. ideal for group plantings Wide. bushy plants loaded with fragrant. trailing plants for containers and baskets Compact non-hybrid mixture 14 colors. colorful shoots 9 colors. full. filler in garden or cut flower. flowers longer in garden. rich colors. butterfly-type flower. cut flowers. branching habit. series and Cultivars of snapdragons for bedding Plant and Pot Culture in Greenhouse Production1 Series / cultivar2 Company source Garden height (inches) 8 to 10 Comments bells series Goldsmith seeds 9 colors. for pots and landscape 6 colors. side shoots and flower with central shoot. early flowering dwarf. strong garden performance. sturdy flower shoots and uniform habit 6 colors. unusual white variegated leaves 12 colors. flat cushions. free-flowering.Table 1. well-branched plants 8 colors. and 4-inch pot production 11 colors. well-branched plants 10 colors. strong basal branching for a robust-like plant Chimes series Goldsmith seeds 6 to 8 Coronette series s&G Flowers 20 to 24 Crown series s&G Flowers 16 to 18 ‘Floral Carpet mix’ benary seeds 8 ‘Floral showers mix’ benary seeds 6 ‘Frosted Flames mix’ Harris seeds 12 Freesong series bodger seeds 14 to 18 Kim series Floranova 10 to 12 la bella series Goldsmith seeds 18 to 22 liberty Classic series s&G Flowers 20 to 24 luminaire series (cutting) ‘magic Carpet mix’ montego series ball FloraPlant trailing bodger seeds s&G Flowers 6 to 8 8 to 10 4 Alabama Cooperative extension system . withstand wind and rain 14 colors. mid-height color in the landscape 16 inches wide. recommended for garden beds. very uniform. bright. open butterfly-type flowers on strong. strong. free flowering. fast branching.

in cooperation with the u. winter-flowering cultivars 10 colors. 1996. Raymond Kessler.50 mn K 2.Palette series American takii 6 to 8 11 colors. uniform flowering 6 colors. call your county extension office. or disability. recommendations for tissue Analysis nutrient levels in snapdragon Percent n 3. bushy. 6 to 10 solstice series ball seed Co. and equal opportunity employment to all people without regard to race. veteran status. wellbranched 6 colors. flowers 30 to 60 days earlier under short days than other intermediate size.84 mo 0. names enclosed in single quotes are single cultivars. both at Auburn university For more information.00 to 1.s. uniform.85 s 0. Rachel Creel.50 Cu 9 mg 0. issued in furtherance of Cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics. look in your telephone directory under your county’s name to find the number. .00 to 3. department of Agriculture. and J.80 Fe P 0. Acts of may 8 and June 30.00 Zn 56 Ca 1. and other related acts. quick-finish. religion. color. national origin. early flower. compact plants with closely spaced flower on shoots 9 colors. sex. Graduate Associate.46 b 30 Parts per million 75 139 Adapted from mills and Jones. strong root system. well-suited to pot-tight 4-inch programs striking bicolor flower. the Alabama Cooperative extension system (Alabama A&m university and Auburn university) offers educational programs. Anr-1312 © 2007 by the Alabama Cooperative extension system.s. age. 16 to 20 sonnet series sakata seeds 12 tahiti series 1 2 s&G Flowers 8 to 10 this table is not exhaustive but includes series and cultivars widely available on the u. ANR-1312 Web Only. can take high winds without lodging 14 colors. dwarf plant habit.30 to 0. All rights reserved. Table 2. market. New Feb 2007. very uniform flower time across color range 11 colors. Assistant Professor. materials. names without quotes are series of cultivars. 1914. flats and pots Playful series (cutting) ‘Princess White with Purple eye’ snappy series ball FloraPlant 6 to 8 American takii 10 to 12 Hemgenetics 6 to 8 snapshot series ball seed Co. sturdy branches.