Snaps are typical spike flowers with several flowers forming an elongated flowerhead. Flowers mature and open from the bottom up. Snapdragon flowers have a very distinctive shape as the petals have fused to form a kind of hood overhanging a large lip, that looks very much like a dragon’s mouth. They are very colourful, coming in yellow, red, purple, white, as well as bi-colour combinations.
These were a very popular cut flower in the 1950’s, where they were in the Top 5 cut flowers grown in the USA. While still solid sellers, snaps are not as sought after now, perhaps it’s time for a revival.
Snaps are mostly field-grown in cooler areas near Melbourne, Sydney, in Tasmania and in SA and WA.
What to look for
- Stems with at least 1/3 of lower flowers open;
- Straight stems – stem tips curve up if laid flat;
- Avoid bunches with signs of flower drop or yellow leaves.
- Keep cool whenever possible.
- Split bunches and strip leaves from the lower half of each stem.
- Wash stem ends thoroughly.
- Recut at least 2 cm off each stem with sharp secateurs and place in water immediately.
- Preservative is essential – this will help buds to colour up and open.
- Replace water every day.
- These flowers are very sensitive to ethylene, which causes flower drop. Keep them away from fruit, car exhausts and cigarette smoke.
- Pinch the top bud off each stem, as this helps prevent stem bending.
Interesting Facts about this Flower
Snapdragon's botanical name is Antirrhinum, from the Greek anti (like) and rhin (a nose), referring to the snout like shape of the flower.
A popular child's game is to pick individual snapdragons and squeeze the sides of the flower, making the dragon’s jaws snap open and shut.
In the Language of Flowers they can mean 'Gracious Lady'.