typically Tennessee’s driest month. To be sure your
garden doesn’t get too dry, here are some fall gardening
tips from the Institute of Agriculture . >>>read the article
Gardens' Plant of the Month:
Snapdragons, with their two-lipped flowers, have
delighted children for generations. Pinching the blossom makes
the dragon's mouth open, or "snap."
Antirrhinum majus or Common Snapdragon is a tender
perennial usually grown as a cool-weather annual. It is
popular among gardeners for its assorted colors and heights,
which allow it to have a variety of uses. Tall cultivars are
popular as cut flowers or as a tall background in a border.
Short cultivars are great for mass planting and edging or for
use in pots and containers. Cultivars are available in three
height categories: tall, from 2 to 3 feet; semi-dwarf, from 1
to 2 feet; and dwarf, from 8 to 12 inches.
Snapdragons are available in almost every color except
true blue. Flowers can be a solid color or bicolor and can be
one of two types: the common tubular shape and a double azalea
type. The brightly colored blossoms of snapdragons can be used
to dye cloth. Snapdragons belong to the Scrophulariaceae, or
figwort, family and are native to the Mediterranean region.
Another popular relative in this family is foxglove or
digitalis. The name Antirrhinum comes from the Greek. "Anti"
means "like," and "rhinos" means "nose," referring to the
snout-like shape of the flowers.
Snapdragons are not crazy about our southern summer
heat. They perform best when temperatures are cooler,
especially around 50 degrees. In the South, snapdragons are
best when planted in the fall where they can thrive and
provide color in the garden from winter to spring. I use
snapdragons throughout my perennial border where they enliven
the garden with their vibrant colors during dreary winters.
Then, if they fizzle in the summer due to heat stress, they
can go unnoticed. I also enjoy snapdragons combined with
pansies and violas in containers in the fall. Flowering can be
improved by deadheading spent blooms. Although temperature is
critical to performance, snapdragons perform best when planted
in full sun to partial shade and in light, sandy, well-drained
Snapdragons are sensitive to damping-off and other root
diseases, so well-drained soil is imperative. Leaf rust is
common on snapdragons during times of heavy condensation as
with dew or frequent rainfall. If you suspect a disease or
insect problem, contact your county's Agricultural Extension
agent for advice.
evaluated a myriad of the numerous cultivars are on the market
in the test gardens at the University of Tennessee. I have
found many to perform well in our Tennessee climate. Dwarf
cultivars include the "Floral Showers" series, "Floral Carpet
Mix," "Montego" series, "Chimes" series, "Bells" series and
"Tahiti" series. Semi-dwarf cultivars include the "Sonnet"
series, "Liberty" series, "Ribbon" series and "La Bella"
series. Tall cultivars include the "Rocket" series.
UT Gardens in Knoxville this winter and spring to see more
than 25 different and new cultivars of snapdragons being
evaluated for their cool-season show and performance. Visit http://utgardens.tennessee.edu/ for
more information on these cultivars.
# # #
Dr. Susan Hamilton is an associate
professor of ornamental horticulture in the University of
Tennessee Department of Plant
Sciences and director of the UT Gardens. The UT
Gardens are located on Neyland Drive in
Knoxville. They are open seven days a week during daylight
hours. Various selections of witch hazel are currently in
bloom, and if temperatures warm, the pansies and violas should
put on a colorful show.