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A cool flowering plant for hot summers

 

snapdragon-like flowers

Complex snapdragon-like flowers – Angelonia

The “summer snapdragon”, better known as Angelonia, is a great summer flower that grows from one to three feet tall and produces almost one-inch wide white, blue and white, and pink flowers arranged on narrow, eight-inch spikes. While true snapdragons grow best in our cooler winter weather, Angelonia is the real deal – a warm-weather, drought-tolerant plant that does well in the landscape, in containers, and as a cut flower. Angelonia are especially nice when used on the edge of a border. Available in many garden centers, Angelonia is a good bedding plant to use at this time of year.

Native to Mexico and the West Indies, Angelonia is a member of the figwort family. The foliage of the Angelonia is glossy green to a grey-green color covered in minute hairs. While grown as an annual, this plant can sometimes winter over as a perennial in our hardiness zone. Plant Angelonia in a full sun, well-drained, moderate to dry location. Place plants from 12-16 inches apart in beds for mass planting. Expect at least six weeks of bloom in a typical season. One method to extend the bloom and rejuvenate plant vigor is to actually shear plants back 50% at mid-season which will initiate a rebloom in about two to three weeks.

There are a number of non-patented Angelonia cultivars including ‘Alba’ with white flowers, ‘Blue Pacifica’ with white and blue toned flowers, and ‘Pandiana’ which is pink with silver leaves. In 1998 the Florida Nursery Growers & Landscape Association named the Angelonia cultivar, ‘Hilo Princess’  a “Plant of the Year”.   There are also a number of patented Angelonia available often offering larger plants, different colors and more vigorous growth. For instance, the patented Ball ‘AngelMist®’ series comes in six colors from deep plum to lavender.   ‘Angelface® Blue’ is a cultivar that has done well in field tests here in Florida. Keep in mind that patented plants cannot be propagated commercially without a license from the patent holder.

One interesting final note on Angelonia is their smell. When crushed, the leaves smell to some people just like grape soda!  Angelonia is Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ approved, is not considered invasive, takes the heat and still gives a show – all great characteristics!  For more information on all types of flowering plants for your garden suitable for our area, or to ask a question, please visit https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteMGLifeline/  .   Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for the UF/IFAS Charlotte County Extension Service. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov.

Resources:
UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions (2021) Angelonia.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Schoelhorn, R. (2002) Angelonia – The Warm Season Snapdragon.  GPN https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/floriculture/pdfs/crop_production/Angelonia.pdf .
The Florida Green (1998) Winter. Florida Plants of the Year. https://archive.lib.msu.edu/tic/flgre/article/1998win60.pdf
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design. (2010) The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas.  Angelonia angustifolia