Angelonia, also known as summer snapdragon or angel flower, produces numerous blossoms resembling snapdragons in shades of white, pink or purple, depending on the variety. The plant tolerates heat, humidity and drought, and grows as a perennial in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11. Elsewhere, the plant grows as an annual that dies back when temperatures drop in the fall and winter. Gardeners in cooler climates often grow angelonia in containers for easy over-wintering indoors.
Angelonia is one of those plants that had been around a while without any fanfare until breeders began to work with them and produced several new and improved hybrids. Now angelonia, sometimes called summer snapdragons, is the perfect plant for those who have hot, humid summers and want something light and delicate for borders and baskets. It will bloom all summer with little attention from the gardener.
Angelonia angustifolia and recent hybrids with Angelonia integerrima are tender perennials that originally came from South America. They have narrow, toothed leaves and small, one-inch-wide flowers in shades of blue, lavender, pink and white. Angelonia flowers look like relaxed snapdragons with open throats. They have a slight, fruity scent. Angelonia is hardy in zones 8 and above but is killed by the first hint of frost in the North.
Site and Soil
Angelonia plant performs best when planted in late spring in an area that receives full sun and consists of fertile, moist soil rich in organic material. In hot, sandy areas, angelonia prefers partial afternoon shade to protect against scorching. In most areas of the United States, the angelonia plant performs as an annual, but plants grown in containers may be brought indoors through the winter. For container-grown plants, high-quality moist potting soil provides the best results.
Once established, the angelonia plant becomes very drought-tolerant and requires watering only about once per week, or whenever the soil has dried. Although the plant can survive with less moisture, blooming will suffer. In very hot temperatures, container-grown angelonia plants may need more frequent watering. A layer of mulch added to the soil surrounding the plants prevents soil-splash, which may cause damage to the foliage and flowers.
- Avoid excessive irrigation or fertilization when plants are young.
- Feed with complete, balanced fertilizers at 200–250 ppm nitrogen (CLF). The optimum media EC is 2-2.5.
- Alternate with calcium nitrate on a regular basis.
- Provide a complete minor element program with additional iron using either iron chelate or iron sulfate (to avoid burn on foliage, rinse iron sulfate off after application).
- Use of Osmocote® or other appropriate slow-release fertilizer products may be beneficial in supplementing a CLF program and may provide improved performance for the consumer.
- Provide periodic clear water application if excess soluble salts accumulate.
Container-grown angelonia plants are brought indoors when average nighttime temperatures drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When placed in an area that receives bright, direct light and watered once per week, the plants will survive the winter. Place them back outdoors when temperatures rise above 60 degrees Fahrenheit in spring and resume regular care. If left outdoors when temperatures drop, angelonia plants die and do not return the following year. In zones 9 through 11, plants allowed to remain outdoors all year will behave as perennials, but should not be fertilized during the winter months.
Angelonia plant seeds are difficult to find and most gardeners prefer to propagate by taking cuttings. Rooted cuttings purchased from a local nursery perform best, although cuttings may be taken from mature plants if necessary. Applying a root hormone to tip cuttings helps expedite the rooting process. Place cuttings in a well-drained rooting medium and keep at a temperature of around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Rooting will occur in about 10 days
- Bright light is ideal for this crop. Retractable roof greenhouses and field production are suggested where possible.
- Provide a minimum of 5000-6000 foot candles/ 53,800-64,600 lux.
- Trim young plants once established (approximately 2-3 weeks after transplanting). This should be the second pinch, the first being done while still in propagation.
- Additional pruning can be used to shape plants, correct for stretching or to time flowering. Mature, healthy plants generally bloom within 5-6 weeks after pinching. Apply fungicide sprays to prevent Botrytis after any hard pinch.
- Plants may be established pot-tight but should be spaced before foliage touches.
- 4” pots should be provided a minimum 5-6” centers (approximately 2 per sq.ft.)
- 6” or 1-gal. Pots should be provided a minimum of 10-12” centers.
Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs)
- High light and good spacing are the best control methods for preventing stretch.
- Chemical growth regulators can be used to maintain crop growth if stretch becomes a problem. Spray applications of B-Nine at 2500 ppm should be made before flower buds are visible. Research on this species suggests that spray applications of BonziÒ or Sumagic® may be effective at controlling internode stretch.
The blooms of an angelonia plant come in a variety of colors. They look like snapdragon blooms and can be harvested for bouquets. Angelonia plants are self cleaning and do not require deadheading to continue to bloom and look good. The blooms and foliage are fragrant and can provide a pleasant scent to a bouquet.
· Angelonia plants don't have many pests to deal with most of the time. However, large numbers of aphids, whiteflies or thrips can become a problem. Rarely do large enough numbers of these pests congregate to cause a real threat to angelonia plants. Pesticides can be used to aid the plant if any of the pests become a big problem.
Plant Type: Annual
Plant Height: 1-2 feet tall
Plant Width: 1-2 feet wide
Flower Color: Blooms in shades of white, pink, or purple, depending on type
Landscape Uses: Containers,Beds & Borders
Special Features: Flowers, Fragrant, Attracts Butterflies, Drought Tolerant, Easy to Grow