or tall mixture offered at 95 pence per packet.
Antirrhinum majus is native to southern Europe and Asia Minor, where it grows as a perennial but is not completely frostresistant.
Currently available varieties are treated as annuals, even though in mild winters they will grow in one site for a number of years. The stems are thickly covered with glossy, entire leaves. The individual flowers on short stems are arranged in dense or thinner spikes and bloom in succession.
The name comes from the Greek meaning nose flower or more literally, snout flower, in reference to the shape of the flowers which have several common titles including Snapdragon or Dragons Mouth.
Breeding has yielded a great number of varieties of many different colours and two of the more important are A. majus maximum and A. majus grandiflorum; both are good for cutting.
The plants are 70-90cm (30 36 inches) high, of branching habit, with dense spikes of medium-sized flowers.
Suitable as bedding plants and for planting in boxes and bowls are the intermediate varieties of antirrhinum. In most forms the main and lateral stems develop at the same rate and attain practically the same height 40-60cm (16 to 24 inches). The spikes of fairly large flowers are quite long and often quite dense.
Varieties of the A. majus pumilum (dwarf) group are of branching habit, only 10-15cm (6 to 8 in.) high, with short spikes of small flowers.
Snapdragons thrive in most soils with good drainage and in a sunny site; tall forms should be provided with protection against winds.
Sowing: seed should be sown under protection in early March to early April. Hardened-off seedlings may be planted out as early as mid-April, spaced 25-35cm (10 to 14 in.) apart. Germination temperature 18°C (65°F).