Antirrhinum, as the snapdragon is called botanically, should not be missing in any farm or natural garden. With its different heights, it offers a multitude of design and combination options and skilfully stages itself. Just as the heights of growth vary, the varieties also differ in their winter hardiness. With the right overwintering, it is still possible to save them over the cold season.
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Winter hardiness of snapdragons
When it comes to the winter hardiness of this plant, a distinction must be made between real snapdragons and hybrids. So-called F1 hybrids are usually offered in stores, which have been specially bred for strong growth and lush flower formation. This applies not only to plants, but also to their seeds. Usually these plants only bloom very beautifully in the first year and only sparsely in the second.
The vigor also decreases from the second year onwards. They often only last a year in the garden. Wintering such hybrids usually makes no sense. It looks different with the real snapdragon. It grows for several years and can withstand temperatures of up to minus 10 degrees without any problems. As a result, it can be hibernated well, both planted in bed and in a pot.
This is how the wintering succeeds
We have these three options for wintering:
As already mentioned, F1 hybrids only bloom profusely in the first year, so it is not worth the effort to overwinter and it is better to re-sow them every year. In contrast, the real snapdragon can easily overwinter in the garden in mild winter regions with the right protection.
- Above-ground parts of the plant die off with the onset of winter
- Roots overwinter in the ground and sprout again in spring
- Optimal overwintering depends largely on the quality of the soil
- Soil should be loose, humus and, above all, not too calcareous
- Excessive lime content leads to leaf chlorosis
- Frost tolerance would suffer badly or be lost altogether
- It is best to only water with rainwater
- Do not fertilize snapdragons during the winter
- A cover with brushwood, straw or leaves serves as winter protection
- Remove the protection as soon as night or late frosts are no longer expected
In the pot on the balcony
Basically, potted plants should stay outdoors as long as possible and outside again as soon as possible. This hardens them and makes them more resistant and less susceptible to diseases and pests. With the right protection, the perennial snapdragon can not only hibernate outside in the bed but also in a pot or flower box.
- A location protected from rain and wind is important
- Ideally in front of a south or south-west wall of a house
- Then place the pot without a saucer on a styrofoam plate or wooden pallet
- Rain and irrigation water must be able to drain off easily at all times
- Wrap the pot with bubble wrap, fleece, reed or coconut mats or jute
- Wrap around 10 cm beyond the edge of the pot
- Also cover the root area with dry leaves, straw or mulch
It is not necessary to protect the above-ground parts of the plant, as they usually die in winter. The protection can be slowly removed from the middle / end of May. If the danger of late frost has not yet been averted, you simply remove the material on the root area and leave the coating on the pot.
In the house
If you live in a region with very harsh winters or if there is a threat of a particularly cold winter, potted plants should generally overwinter indoors. Snapdragons planted in the bed can then be overwintered in a sheltered place in the house.
- To do this, dig up the plants with plenty of soil in late autumn
- Then place in pots with loose substrate
- Cut back parts of the plant above ground to a few centimeters
- Place in suitable winter quarters
- For example in a basement or a garage
- Temperatures between five and ten degrees are ideal
- It shouldn’t be warmer than ten degrees in winter quarters
- Plants would sprout too early and eventually die
If all of this is too expensive for you, you still have the option of re-sowing. From around April the plants can be placed a little warmer and lighter, watered more often and fertilized about every two weeks. After the ice saints, they can then move outside.
Cut after winter
A pruning before overwintering is particularly recommended for plants that overwinter indoors. For the specimens that stay outside all winter, this should be postponed to spring, because the above-ground parts of the plant serve as natural frost protection. The snapdragons are cut back to about five centimeters.
For better branching and thus a more bushy growth, the shoot tips can later be shortened by a few centimeters. If the dead flowers are also removed regularly, this stimulates the plant to form new flowers.
Snapdragons enchant from spring to autumn with extraordinary flowers, be it in farm, natural or rock gardens, in beds or in pots. Regardless of whether it is low, tall or hanging. Most varieties can be easily overwintered in the open air or in a cool area, depending on their location and with appropriate protection.