Majus – Snapdragon.
One to three feet.
The Antirrhinum is nominally a hardy perennial,
but it may be treated as a biennial, and most
satisfactory of all, as an annual.
It is often seen growing wild on old walls and
ruins; but with garden treatment it has a troublesome
way of “going home” after a hard winter.
Seeds may be sown in shallow drills in an open
bed, about June, and the seedlings put out in
autumn for the next year’s display, or flowers
may be obtained for the first season by sowing
in a box on a mild hotbed or greenhouse about
the beginning of March, pricking out the seedlings
when they are an inch high on a bed of light soil
in a cold frame, and finally putting out the plants
in their flowering quarters at the end of May.
Though they will thrive to all appearances on
nothing better than old stone and mortar, in the
garden they should have a well-worked fairly rich
soil such as is good for Verbenas, Asters and
all the usual summer bedders.
There are two classes of Antirrhinums, the dwarf
or Tom Thumb which forms a dense, if rather dumpy,
little pyramid of bloom; and the tall-growing
sorts which reach three feet or more and are much
more of “artists’ flowers” than
the other breed. The colouring is alike in both,
and comprises light pinks and carmines, crimsons
(some shades dark almost to blackness), sulphur
and primrose yellows, and pure white.
These are often combined in the same flower, a
white throat, for instance, with a crimson lip;
and there are flowers striped and speckled with
two or more colours; but these last are much inferior
to the bold self colours and well-marked contrasts.
If the grower should wish to preserve any particular
variety, cuttings may be made very easily.
In August the small off-shoots from the lower
part of the flower-stems should be slipped off
carefully and dibbled without any further preparation
in some light sandy soil which must be kept fairly
moist and shaded.
A hand light or even a few panes of glass supported
over the patch covered with matting during the
sunny weather, is sufficient to strike every cutting
The rooted cuttings should be wintered in a frame
or under some sort of protection in hard weather
and put out in their flowering quarters about
See also: Snapdragon