Dead snapdragons – Don’t ruin your plant

Snapdragons are one of my personal favorites. I love how they look in the garden, and I always get a kick out of looking at the dead flower heads that resemble that of a human skull. What’s even more bizarre is if you squeeze them between your fingertips – the skull will open and close its mouth! But even I have to admit, they can be a bit temperamental, and deadheading them often leaves many gardeners confused. Let’s explore dead snapdragons below:

cool weather plant

Table of Contents

Dead snapdragons

Deadheading snapdragons is straightforward. As a gardener, you want to give your plant the greatest possible chance to bloom for as long as possible throughout the summer. Let’s break it down below:

  1. Discard any wilted or dying snapdragon flowers.
  2. With your non-dominant hand, carefully cradle the plant.
  3. Cut the stem beneath the blossom using scissors.
  4. Remove deadheads from snapdragon plants. (Make sure to check for seeds!)
  5. Keep an eye on the leaves in the coming days and weeks for any new growth.
partial shade on snapdragons

Snapdragons Overview

The scientific name for snapdragons is Antirrhinum, but they are also known as dragon flowers or dog flowers. Snapdragons usually grow in the wild in North America, Canada, North Africa, and Europe.

Many people all around the world love snapdragons for their cheerful disposition and wide array of colors. Snapdragons are usually short-lived perennials that grow as annuals, which means they’re ideal for flower gardeners who want to switch up their color palette every year. You will often see them in classic British-style gardens because they have many uses: They can be used in mixed border gardens, planted in large flower boxes, or different types of patio containers.

It is thought that the name snapdragon comes from the appearance of the individual flower heads which resemble that of a dragon snout (I think they look more like a human skull). What solidifies this thought further is that the flower head can open and close its mouth when pinched by someone’s fingertips.

What makes snapdragons so incredible is that they bloom profusely throughout the cool weather and all different shades of colors. You will see them look their best in either the spring or fall in the garden. Usually, snapdragons will start to slow down their blooming period during the summer as the temperature starts to rise however if you keep them watered, they will perk up and carry your garden through to the fall.

pink snapdragon

Do you deadhead snapdragons?

Yes, you should deadhead snapdragons to prolong their blooming period. Discard any wilted or dying flowers and cut the stem beneath the blossom using scissors. Remove deadheads from snapdragon plants and keep an eye on the leaves for any new growth.

Deadheading in general allows the plant to focus its energy on producing new flowers rather than seed production. This is beneficial to the plant because it will continue to bloom for a longer period of time. Additionally, deadheading helps to keep the snapdragon plant tidy and looking its best.

If you want to deadhead your snapdragon, make sure you do so after the plant has bloomed. Cutting off the dead blooms will help encourage the plant to produce new flowers.

What to do with snapdragons after flowering?

If you want to keep your snapdragon plant around after it has finished blooming, you can cut it back by about one-third. This will help encourage new growth and give the plant a chance to rest. Additionally, make sure to fertilize your snapdragon plant after it has been cut back to help promote new growth.

You can also deadhead your snapdragons and discard the blooms and put them in your compost bin. Composting is a great idea because it lowers the risk of pests and diseases getting into your garden.

It is generally recommended that you discard snapdragon plants after they have bloomed and start fresh the following year. This is because snapdragons are typically short-lived perennials that grow as annuals. However, if you take good care of your snapdragon plant, it may come back the following year.

compost heap for snapdragons


So now you have more of an understanding as to what to expect with dead snapdragons. Below I’m going to summarise what you’ve learned and break it down into bullet points:

  • When deadheading snapdragons discard wilted or dying flowers, using your non-dominant hand cradle the plant, cut the stem beneath the flower head using scissors, remove the Deadheads from the snapdragon plant and keep an eye on the plant for new growth
  • Snapdragons are Antirrhinums which are short-lived perennials and grow as annuals
  • They can be used in mixed border gardens, large flower boxes, and patio containers
  • The seed pods resemble that of a dragon snout which is where the name “snapdragon” comes from
  • You should deadhead snapdragons to encourage new growth
  • You should compost snapdragons after they have bloomed to prevent best and diseases from developing
root rot snapdragon

People Also Ask

Do dead snapdragons look like skulls?

Yep, they sure do. When the snapdragon is alive the flowers are quite beautiful however when the seedpods die they resemble a human skull or a dragon snout. If you squeeze the dead flower head with your fingertips the skull will open and close its mouth.

Why are my snapdragons turning brown?

Usually, this is down to a fungal disease known as Antirrhinum rust. This disease causes the leaves of the snapdragon plant to turn brown and eventually fall off. The best way to prevent this is to water your snapdragons at the base of the plant rather than from above.

Do snapdragons like lots of water?

Yes, snapdragons like lots of water however they don’t like to be waterlogged. Make sure you provide them with well-drained soil and water them regularly during the growing season (especially if they have just been transplanted).

How long will snapdragons last?

Perennials like snapdragons usually have a lifespan of about three years if looked after correctly.

Can I overwinter snapdragons?

Yes, you can however it is generally not recommended. This is because snapdragons are typically short-lived perennials that grow as annuals. If you do decide to overwinter your snapdragon make sure to water it regularly and place it in a sunny spot.

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Oliver Wright
Oliver Wright

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