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Andreana Bitsis

Ask Ella: Are Snapdragons Deer Resistant?

Ask Ella is a recurring Garden Collage feature where we ask our in-house florist, Ella Stavonsky, about the history of, origin, and maintenance that goes into some of the most intriguing flowers on the market today. This column is dedicated exclusively to common and rare varieties of flowers you’re likely to find at your local market. This week, we spotlight snapdragons, a tall, charming flower known for its mystical properties.

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Snapdragons have been known by many names throughout Europe (they are native to Spain), and each has a name that harkens to their nose-like appearance (“lion’s mouth”, “dog headed”, “snout”, “calf’s snout”, “toad’s mouth”, “dragon’s snout”, etc). Even Snapdragon’s scientific genus (Antirrhinum) derives from a Greek word meaning “nose-like” (antirrinon).

Since ancient times, snapdragons have always been revered as having magical properties. The flower is still a favorite among modern day practitioners of “witchcraft”, who associate them with protection. During the Renaissance, snapdragons were worn on sleeves as a charm to improve social standing in the court, as they were thought to incur glory and honor. Today, they are a favorite in gardens because of their beauty and the fact that they are deer resistant– a modern protective charm.

Snapdragon Ask Ella

Andreana Bitsis

Snapdragons are an incredibly fragile plant, whose stems are easily broken, so take extra care when adding them to your arrangement. It is extremely important to clean the stem of the snapdragon. You can leave some leaves for more of a countryside look, but removing the additional green helps get water up to flowers, where it matters most. Snapdragons usually last about one week, with the blooms opening in a cascade. Ella likes them best just as they are– a few bunches will nicely fill almost any vessel, as they come in almost every color imaginable. They can also be incorporated into bouquets requiring a playful height.

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