Last week I wrote about one of the best long-blooming summer perennials, Purple Coneflower. Today we focus on one of the very best annuals for heat and humidity. Angelonia angustifolia is heat resistant. It will also withstand short periods of drought, but it looks best if given regular water during the hottest part of the year.
Angelonia does well in containers and in ground. It is an annual but will act as a perennial in zones 9b and warmer. Plants are tall are narrow. I pack them densely into containers, where they reach about 24 inches tall with a limited spread. In the ground, they may reach up to 40 inches and will branch to 12 inches wide. They look fabulous planted in large masses.
Angelonias are available in blue, purple, white, rose/pink and a bi-color purple-white combination that I love. The spikes of blooms start opening from the bottom. The old blooms drop off without the need for deadheadling. Once the top-most blooms have opened, snip the entire stem off with scissors. The plant will branch and the new branches will bloom in just a few weeks. They make long-lasting cut flowers if you remember to remove any leaves that will be below water level.
For best blooms, give them full sun and good drainage. If the leaf color starts looking wimpy, give them a drink of liquid fertilizer to restore them to their original medium green. If you neglect them or allow them to dry out completely, cut them back hard and they will regenerate if given water and liquid fertilizer.
Angelonia are great plants for the new gardener. Easy and beautiful!