Snapdragons - Anthirrinum majus

The lion's mouths

The botanical name is Anthirrinum, the most widespread species is Anthirrinum majus, a perennial plant found naturally in the Mediterranean area; over the years the nurserymen have been committed to producing dwarf and compact varieties, for the borders of the garden, and varieties exceeding 150cm in height, for the production of cut flowers.
These are fairly cold-resistant perennials, which produce a small bush of green leaves, from which erect panicles rise, on which large flowers bloom starting from the base; the flowers of snapdragons bloom throughout the summer and are characterized by bright colors and the particular shape, similar to the mouth of an animal. For wilted flowers a semi-woody capsule is replaced which contains numerous small dark seeds.

Cultivating snapdragons

These plants are easy to cultivate, they tolerate the rigors of winter well, and even in the event of total extinction of a plant, they often tend to self-seed, guaranteeing their presence in the garden for years.
They are positioned in a very sunny place, where they enjoy at least a few hours of sunshine every day; direct sunlight guarantees flowering continuity throughout the summer.
They prefer a rich and deep soil, well drained motion; we place our plant in a well-ventilated position: poor ventilation and poor drainage make the snap holes easy prey to root rot and mold, which can quickly ruin the plant.
From April-May until the first colds let's water regularly, always waiting for the substratum to dry completely between the waterings. The mouths of lion bear without problems short periods of drought, they can eventually assume a withered appearance, which returns luxuriant as soon as water is supplied.
There are many varieties and species of snapdragons in the nursery, from the most delicate and small, often annual, to the most vigorous flower specimens, passing through small species that do not exceed 25-35 cm in height.
We choose the species or variety that best suits our garden.
The lion's mouths are successfully cultivated also in pots, especially as regards obviously the more contained species and varieties; make a fine show also among geraniums or petunias.

Propagate the Anthirrinum majus

As we said above, small green capsules follow the flowers, which become semi-woody and dry over the course of a few days before breaking up, freeing the small seeds; we can collect this capsule and store the seeds for the following year.
The lion's mouths are sown in February in a hot box, or directly in April-May; it may happen that the plants obtained from seed do not bloom immediately the first year after sowing, and that we must wait for the following year.

Snapdragons - Anthirrinum majus: Diseases and pests

The species of Anthirrinum majus can be affected by aphids, parasites that attack the leaves and flowers of our seedlings, without leaving the new shoots untouched either. The plant will appear sticky and lymph-free. To eliminate the problem it is advisable to use specific pesticide products.
Another problem related to the development of our snapdragons is rust. If dark spots and pustules appear on the leaves and stem of the plant, the only possible remedy will be to use specific products to avoid the death of the plant. The cause of the mold is a fungus that in addition to deforming the leaves, dries them and makes them curl. Young plants are most affected.