New to many greenhouse shelves, angelonia (or summer snapdragon) is a spectacular addition for continuous color in any garden. Having only been around since the late 1990s, there are several fresh additions to choose from in this plant's playbook. A tough perennial, angelonia stands up against summer's heat and humidity with no problem, making it a hearty and colorful addition to any sunny spot.
There are a variety of angelonia selections to choose from. Some series boast the largest bloom size, while others offer dwarf plants (perfect for container culture). One of the more recent developments in angelonia breeding are seed-grown varieties. This option helps to lower production cost and offers quality plants at inexpensive prices, as well as a good variety of color options.
One of the most acclaimed series of angelonia is Serena. Serena Purple angelonia keeps gardens looking colorful all summer long. Serena flowers have an extensive blooming season and are dependable and hardy, even in blazing summer temperatures.
Angelonia Care Must-Knows
Angelonia structure, or habit, is rather versatile. Most plants grow upright with spires of flowers and deep green, glossy foliage. The height range is usually between 1 to 2 feet, which makes these plants a great addition to mixed containers (especially since angelonia won't outcompete its neighbors).
Besides upright, there are also angelonia plants that grow more horizontally instead of vertically. These varieties generally won't grow more than 1 foot tall but they spread out nicely to fill a garden. If you're looking for a cascading trailer, angelonia may not be the best fit. This particular trailing type doesn't readily spill over the edges of containers or walls; instead, it grows straight out. Try growing angelonia in a sunny window box.
When planting angelonia, look for sunny spots with lots of airflow. Keep in mind that this plant won't produce many flowers and is more disease-prone when situated in the shade. And don't worry about too much sun or heat; angelonia are fairly drought tolerant and have no problem with hot summer days.
If you look closely at the summer snapdragon flowers, you'll see how this plant got its nickname: Blooms are reminiscent of the wide-open mouth of a monstrous dragon. But, unlike true snapdragons, angelonia flowers present as one fused petal with no hinges. The vibrant flowers tend to appear in the blue/purple to white spectrum. Recently, a few red varieties have popped up, as well.
Good news: Angelonia seeds produce flowers all summer long, and the flower doesn't require any deadheading to keep blooms going.
More Varieties of Angelonia
'Angelmist Dark Plum' Angelonia
Angelmist Dark Plum Angelonia is one of the darkest color selections; it bears deep purple flowers all summer and grows 2 feet tall.
'Angelmist Lavender' Angelonia
Angelmist Lavender Angelonia offers clear lavender-purple blooms on 2-foot-tall plants.
'Angelmist Purple Stripe' Angelonia
Angelmist Purple Stripe Angelonia is an eye-catching selection with deep purple flowers that have bold white edges. It grows 2 feet tall.
'Serenita Raspberry' Angelonia
Angelonia angustifolia is a seed variety that is smaller than its Serena series siblings.
'Serena White' Angelonia
Serena White Angelonia forms a compact, mounding plant that stays about a foot tall and is covered in white blooms.
Angelonia Companion Plants
Dusty miller is a favorite because it looks good with everything. The silvery-white color is a great foil for any type of garden blossom, and the fine-textured foliage creates a beautiful contrast against other shapes of green foliage. Dusty miller has also earned a place in the garden because it's delightfully easy to grow, withstanding heat and drought like a champion.
Geraniums have been a gardener's favorite for well over a century. The old-fashioned standard for beds, borders, and containers, geranium is still one of the most popular plants today. Traditional bedding types love hot weather and hold up well to dry conditions; many offer colorful foliage. Regal, also called Martha Washington, geraniums are more delicate-looking and do better in the cool conditions of spring and fall. Though most geraniums are grown as annuals, they are perennials in Zones 10-11. Bring them indoors to overwinter, if you like, then replant outdoors in spring. Or they can bloom indoors all year long if they get enough light.
Nasturtiums are so versatile. They grow easily from seed sown directly in your garden's poorest soil and bloom all season until frost, plus they are never greedy about food or fertilizer. Nasturtiums are available in either spreading or climbing types. Plant spreading types in large containers to spill over the sides. Plant them alongside wide paths to soften the sides for a romantic look. Use nasturtium to brighten a rock garden or between paving stones. Place them at the edges of beds and borders to fill in between other plants and add soft, flowing color. Train climbing types up trellises or alongside fences. The leaves and flowers are edible; use them as a showy plate garnish or to jazz up salads.
You just can't overdo sage in the garden. This perennial herb earns its keep with fast-growing ways, beautiful blooms, and a flavor deer find distasteful. Once established, plants shrug off drought, although it's wise to keep plants well-hydrated through the hottest parts of summer if you want a steady supply of supple foliage. Some gardeners pinch out flower buds to keep leaves forming, but the blooms are beautiful. If you choose to let plants flower, when blossoms fade, cut plants back to beneath where flower buds formed. Don't cut back to woody stems that have no leaves; those most likely won't sprout again. Sage plants typically require replacing every 3-4 years, as plants become woody and produce fewer leaves. The uses of sage are wide ranging. Besides its popular use as a culinary herb, sage is also commonly pressed into service in cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps. Some naturalists rub it on their skin as an insect repellent. Hanging dried leaves among woolen clothing deters moths. Burning sage removes unpleasant odors, such as lingering cigarette smoke or cooked fish smells.