Enormous bright pink snapdragons bloom in a large open field on a flower farm.
Seasonal Flowers,  Summer Collection

Snapdragons vs Pincushions: When a Dragon Meets an Alien

The ultimate showdown between snapdragons and pincushions took place this week on our Instagram page. If you missed it, here’s a recap:

Going into this week’s bloom battle between snapdragons and pincushions, we really didn’t know what to expect! Would the snapdragon, a classic cottage variety, win? Or would the intriguing, almost alien-like pincushion beat out its more traditional competitor? With two-thirds of you voting for the more timeless classic, without further ado, your winner is…the snapdragon! 

Read on for a breakdown of our final floral showdown and all-things snapdragon (and maybe a few-things pincushion. You’ll just have to read to the end to find out!). 

When a Name Says it All

Formally known as Antirrhinums, snapdragons are also called dragon flowers or dog flowers because of their playful, almost animal-like look. The fluffy layers of snapdragon petals form the shape of a dragon preparing to breathe fire from its mouth. Instead of fire, luckily these babies breathe only beauty. Their lip-like petals can typically only be opened by strong bees on a pollination mission. Because of their tight-lipped look, snapdragons tend to be disease and pest-free.  

Native to North America, the Mediterranean region, and North Africa, snapdragons thrive in rocky areas. Because of this resilient spirit, they often represent strength and perseverance. On the other hand, because they are almost stubbornly persistent, they also symbolize mischief and deviance. There are nearly 40 different species of snapdragons which all belong to the plantain family. Other flowers in the plantain family include the Pink Pixie, Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes,’ and the Germander Speedwell. If you google these plants, you quickly see the family resemblance.

Staring into the Eyes of a Dragon

This dragon is all roar, no bite. You can find these peaceful dragon mouths in a variety of colors including white, yellow, orange, lavender, red, purple, pink, or multicolor combinations. Different varieties of snapdragons are categorized by their height (small, medium, and large), growing anywhere from 6 to 48 inches tall. Medium snapdragons are typically what you find in a commercial bouquet. Keep in mind that if you plant snapdragons of the taller variety in your home garden, they often require some extra support to grow properly. 

Other Uses

of Snapdragons

Snapdragons are beautiful—and edible—from the inside out. You can find snapdragons as a garnish on plates and cocktails in restaurants. In some cultures, oil is extracted from the seeds and used for human consumption. The leaves of snapdragons are used for their anti-inflammatory properties and dye can be extracted from the flowers of this versatile plant.


at Home

This chipper variety is a great addition to any home garden! Although they are short-lived perennials that can brave cold seasons, they’re typically replanted in spring, meaning that they’re often grown as annual plants. They’re also considered long flowering blooms because they blossom from June through October. Once cut, snapdragons can last a week or longer in water. Ethylene gas can cause this variety to die, so make sure you don’t have them near any ripe fruits or vegetables. 

Be sure to plant snapdragons in an area that will allow partial sun with well-drained soil because their roots can begin to rot quite easily—though don’t let that make you shy away from water, they do require regular watering. Weeds are the snapdragon’s nemesis because they take space and nutrients from your plant, so be sure to keep your weeds under control. To help snapdragons produce as many colorful blooms as possible, it’s also important to deadhead them (by gently removing any dead flowers).

Bonus Round:

An Alien Sighting:

The Pincushion is

in the House

This exotic beauty is an undeniable standout in any bouquet! Scientifically known as Leucospermum cordifolium, the pincushion gets its name from its pokey look (and feel). Cousin of the Limestone Sugarbush or protea, this variety can be quite challenging to grow. They’re quite temperamental and even just a bit too much shade will prevent flower growth and encourage only leafy greens to grow. Pincushion protea is best grown in locations like South Africa, Australia, Israel, and Colombia. And as luck would have it, our sustainable farms are located right in the heart of Colombia. This allows us to deliver classic and hard-to-find varieties in each and every monthly delivery of your fresh flower subscription

Want to continue learning about some of your favorite varieties? Be sure to follow us on our Instagram account!

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