Q: What can you tell me about the plant called the grape soda plant? My friend says I should plant it. Can we successfully grow it here?
A: Grape soda plant? I think she might be referring to the annual Angelonia, Angelonia angustifolia. Apparently, if you crush the leaves it will put off a smell similar to a grape soft drink. Angelonia come in a wide variety of colors from white to pink to deep purple. If we have really mild winters, it is possible for it to overwinter and stray another year. Some people call this plant the summer snapdragon because it can handle the warmer climates. It is a very pretty upright flower and produces flowers from late spring through the summer. Angelonia prefers a slightly acid, well-drained soil, with a pH around 5.5 – 6.2. They will need some room to spread so plant them about 12-16 inches apart. They can reach heights up to 3 feet, depending on the variety and will probably require weekly watering to keep them healthy through the summer heat. Cut the back to half their height about half way through the summer and they will produce more blooms. A light application of a complete fertilizer after this pruning would be beneficial. Angelonia is perfect as a tall filler plant in containers and is often used as a cut flower. This annual can be found at most any local garden center.