Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Cool season cut flowers like snapdragon don’t grow as well during the heat of summer. That’s when the angelonia comes in handy. This is also known as the summer snapdragon. These plants have a distinctive fragrance somewhat like grape soda.
This has not become one of the most popular cut flowers, which is a pity. These stems, which tend to be a little thinner than that of the true snapdragon, have a long vase life.
If you have a cutting garden, you can easily grow all the angelonia stems you need. The plants are very floriferous. Whatever torrid weather the summer brings, this will bloom reliably. Keep harvesting the stems for this will encourage angelonia to keep blooming.
The original angelonias are from tropical areas like Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. They crave warm temperatures. Their growth slows once temperatures cool off in the fall. Plant breeders have done wonders with these beauties. The flower colors vary from one cultivar to another. They come in white, pink, pinkish-purple, and true purple. All have large, contrasting, multicolored throats just as the true snapdragon. Actually, angelonias are related to snaps, which might account for the resemblance and the common name—summer snapdragon.
When choosing angelonias and any other plants for your cutting garden, look for the award winners. These will be reliable. The AngelMist angelonia series is worth looking for. During plant trials, they were top performers in most every area of the country. The award winners include the AngelMist Lavender Improved angelonia, which is actually a double winner. It received a Florastar award as well as a University of Georgia Gold Medal. Lavender Improved has deep lavender, long lasting blossoms. This bushy plant has dark green foliage that creates a great background for the lovely flowers.
Hilo Princess angelonia was named Florida Plant of the Year some years ago, which is a real honor for a plant. So you know it tolerates heat and humidity.
For cutting gardens, choose taller varieties of angelonia. Dwarf ones like the AngelMist Deep Purple angelonia won’t be as suitable for cut flowers.
If you don’t have sufficient space for a cutting garden, you can still grow angelonia in containers, including hanging baskets.
Most of the time angelonias are grown as annuals. The exceptions are from zone 8 southward where they will survive winters.
Regarding care, angelonias are undemanding in the cutting garden. Give them a warm, sunny spot and they’ll be fine. Water as often as needed to help keep them blooming.
By and large angelonias are trouble free species. Caterpillars may nibble on the plants. If they’re under a great deal of stress, they may be attacked by spider mites.
Snap into summer with snapdragon relatives like angelonia—the ideal cut flower for hot summer weather.