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Snapdragon starter problem

Allentown, PA(Zone 6b)

Every year I start about 60 snapdragons by seed, and end up only having a few surviving when it's planting time.

They tend to be spindly and get a fuzzy mold that kills nearly all of them. Any suggestions as far as soil / moisture conditions that I don't know about?

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Can you give us a little more info on the conditions you're using to start them so we can give you better advice? I can tell you that you most likely have too much water around or else you wouldn't have the mold. Air circulation is also important--if you're growing these with a plastic dome over them, once the seeds have germinated you need to make sure to prop the dome up (or remove it) to let some air in there, this will also help with the moisture although you still need to make sure you're not watering too much. The spindliness is probably due to lack of light--seedlings need lots of light after they germinate. I have fluorescent lights that I leave on for 14-16 hrs a day and they need to be just a couple inches above the seedlings or else they don't do nearly as much good.

Allentown, PA(Zone 6b)

Thanks for replying & for the info. I was using the brightest window in the house w/ a 'mini-greenhouse' container. Everything you said sounds like the logical problem.

I'll do as you said this year. The great thing is that they all seem to winter over quite well, and self-prop enough that I really don't even have to save seeds anymore. Just an addiction I suppose.

Thanks again!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I would get some fluorescent shop lights and hang them a few inches over the seedlings once they germinate--the light from your window may feel bright, but for seedlings it's probably not enough. They need more hours of light and the light source closer to them. And if you give them ventilation by propping up the lid once they've started to germinate and watch how much you're watering them that should help a lot with the fungus.

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

I love snapdragons, but read that they are a little difficult to start. So, I've resigned myself to picking up the tiny starter packs from nurseries. Trouble is, they don't carry the huge, beautiful, tall ones that I want. Maybe I'll try them this year.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Oh, give the tall ones a try again. Even at 50% success you'll be far ahead of the stores and have exactly what you want regarding color, which is the biggest plus in raising from seed.

Allentown, PA(Zone 6b)

Billy -

I've got loads of the tall ones (I think they're called 'Fordhook') ... already grown. They winter over better than the small ones (which seem harder to come by anymore).

I can dig some out when the weather is better & ship them to you if you like. They're a combo of my own from my old house & the woman who live at my new one prior. She was head of the area's flower club.

While I know they're easy to re-root using rooting compound, I'd prefer to send them w/ intact roots. Any ideas on how to ship live plants safely?

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Have you consider W/Sing the snapdragons? W/Sing the seeds last year gave fantastic results for me, no difficulty, no dampening off nor hardening off issues. Nearly all the seeds germinated and I had long lasting blooms with pm shade. It was my first attempt to grow snapdragons from seed. I am wintersowing snapdragon seeds this weekend. ;0)

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Saint Louis, MO

I believe we are in the same zone, so this may work for you. I discovered by accident that the seeds from the previous seasons snap dragons would fall and regrow in a sheltered area of my garden. When I say sheltered, I just mean that they are up against the South side of my foundation. They grow back thick and healthy. Somewhere around April 1st I dig them up and redistribute them where I want them. As long as you don't try to take them before they grow a couple of pairs of leaves they transplant fine. I tried starting them indoors before and had little to no luck at all. I scattered several plant seeds last fall in the same area. I'll see what else will come back that way. Can't get any easier than that!

Saint Louis, MO

garden6- everyone probably knows what "W/Sing" means, but I'm afraid I don't. I tried to figure it out without having to ask, but nothing is coming to me. Would you mind explaining it - I may want to try your method too. Thanks ...Chris

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Growgirl~ Oops...W/Sing means wintersowing in containers placed outdoors after the Winter solstice in Dec. and through early spring. One could use empty, clean milk jugs cut width wise), gallon size plastic ice cream containers , etc filled with at least 4 inches of potting soil, moistened and sown with perennial seeds. Very easy and fun to do, check out the wintersowing forum for info and the different techniques here on Daves. You can use the same process to sow annuals later in the Spring. Hope that piques your interest as this is my 2nd year W/Sing and I highly recommend it. Of course, there will be some seeds that enjoy better success with indoor starts or direct sow after the last frost. But W/Sing is very effective for seeds that require cold stratification to germinate. Hope what I typed makes sense, if not ask away and I'll exlain later as one of the pumkins is tugging and begging for a snack.

Saint Louis, MO

Thanks garden6...I sure appreciate the info. Looks like I'm going to be W/Sing too! (I LOVE learning new things). - Chris

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

You're welcome! ;0)

south central, WI(Zone 5a)

HI, sterile seed starting mix is what I use for veggies, also the shoplights.
Somewhere (in the dusty attic of my mind) I have heard suggestion of using week solution of Chamomile tea for watering to help keep down die-off. I haven't tried that one.
Will try winter sowing--a bit later on...buying the packs have become a bit pricey for me too...will look for Fordhook..haven't seen them around here, but some businesses have had some Huge snapdragons that really sung to me..and yet they remained there after I left the building!!!!

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

Kelli, Thanks. I think I'll try growing some on my own first.

Garden6, I haven't tried WS yet.

I've had the short one's reseed and some also came back with mixed colors. Eventually they quit.

I think I'll try WS some tall one's this fall since I have a lot of packets of seed to do this spring.

Lansing, KS(Zone 5b)

Billy~ it's not too late to wintersow your snaps....check out the wintering forum here on DG and enjoy those tall snaps this Spring!

Nichols, IA(Zone 5a)

Really? I don't know that much about winter sowing either. Just what I read on the sticky. Always nice to have help!

El Dorado, AR

I have never grown snapdragons, but bought seeds and it is now June 27, is it too late to start them?

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

Hi Primrose. You could try, but I think you would be better waiting til the fall. Check out this link from UA extension service.

Anderson, IN(Zone 6a)

When the tall snapdragon was mentioned . are we talking 3 to 4 ft .? Most are only half hardy here ,,

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

I grew them from seed, starting indoors in a container, and by the time I took them outside, they were next to impossible to thin. After that I bought them in trays, separted by about 8-10 inches, and they bushed up like crazy. As with all annuals, they bloomed all summer until the first frost.

Palmdale, CA(Zone 8a)

Snapdragons in my zone seem to overwinter quite nicely, even though we can get as low as 8F in the winter, being its the High desert. I rarely have a problem with reseeding though. Only twice has a new plant grown from the seed of an existing plant in my yard.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Our snaps reseeded more than ever before last year. They truly are great plants. We have hundreds of them now, even this one, which quite obviously decided this was the best spot to grow!

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Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

A true tribute to the indomitable nature of plants.....grin

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It really does have that "I Will Survive" spirit and we actually do walk around it. Shows how well a plant can train people.

Prairieville, LA(Zone 9a)

A case of Positive reinforcement...grin

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