How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Angelonia

If you love snapdragons, but want a more reliable bloomer during the peak heat of summer, incorporate angelonia, commonly called summer snapdragons. They are heat and drought-tolerant, make an amazing cut flower, and add cheer to any type of garden. Join organic farmer Jenna Rich as she shows us how to plant, grow, and care for these low-maintenance beauties.

Close-up of flowering Angelonia plants in a sunny garden. Angelonia, also known as summer snapdragon, presents a charming appearance with its slender, lance-shaped leaves arranged neatly along upright stems. Rising above the foliage, tall spikes bear clusters of small, delicate flowers resembling snapdragons, coming in deep purple.

Contents

The most attention-grabbing flowers tend to be the big and showy types like zinnias, dahlias, roses, and daisies, but I’m here to talk about one of the easiest-to-care-for spike flowers there is.

You may have seen this flower planted en masse on a slope or in containers on a back patio and thought it was a snapdragon or a new cultivar of foxglove. It’s a fairly young genus called Angelonia, and it’s here to stay! 

Growers love the bold colors, ease of care, and drought resistance of angelonia. Warm climate growers love it for its high yields and great performance throughout the season, even when temperatures skyrocket. 

Let’s talk about how easy it is to plant, grow, and care for angelonia

Overview 

Close-up of blooming pink Angelonia in a sunny garden. This plant has lance-shaped, glossy green leaves arranged symmetrically along sturdy stems. Tall spikes adorned with numerous small, snapdragon-like flowers rise above the foliage. The flowers are a rich, bright pink shade.
Botanical Name  Angelonia angustifolia
Plant Type  Heat-loving, herbaceous flowering perennials
Family Plantaginaceae
Genus Angelonia
Common Name  Summer snapdragon, summer orchid 
Native Area  Mexico and the West Indies
Exposure Full sun
Height  12 to 18 inches
Watering Requirements Low
Soil Type  Moist, well-draining
Pests  Aphids, spider mites
Diseases Powdery mildew, root rot
Maintenance Low
Hardiness Zones Perennial in zones 9-11, annual elsewhere
Bloom Time Spring to frost, zone dependent

What Is It?

Close-up of blooming Angelonia in the garden. Angelonia plants showcase lush green foliage characterized by lance-shaped leaves, forming a verdant backdrop for its abundant clusters of delicate, snapdragon-like flowers. These flowers which come in a variety of colors including pink and lavender, adorn sturdy spikes rising gracefully above the foliage.
Opt for Angelonia as a resilient summer filler with lovely scents.

Angelonia is a bushy, spiky, heat-loving annual that serves as a fill-in for snapdragons during the peak of summer and in the fall when snapdragons have dwindled. It also adds height to your garden design.

They look delicate, but they’re hardy, heat-tolerant, and resilient. Their shades of blues, pinks, and violets complement cottage gardens, perform well along borders and in containers, and are overall low-maintenance. 

The Angelonia genus was identified in the late 1990s and consists of about 30 species. Florists and backyard gardeners adore these flowers for their sweet apple, grape, or vanilla scent and long vase life. 

Native Area

Close-up of a flower bed with blooming Angelonia flowers under sunlight. In a flower bed, colorful Angelonia flowers create a striking display with their vibrant hues, ranging from soft pastels to rich jewel tones. Rising on sturdy stems amidst lush green foliage, these snapdragon-like blossoms form dense clusters.
Native to Mexico and the West Indies, it thrives in subtropical climates.

Angelonia is native to Mexico and the West Indies, thriving in high heat. 

Characteristics 

Close-up of a flowering Angelonia plant in a flowerbed in a sunny garden. Angelonia pink flowers boast an enchanting delicacy, with each blossom featuring five distinct petals that resemble those of a snapdragon, arranged symmetrically around a slender, tubular throat. These blooms emerge atop tall spikes, towering above the lush, lance-shaped green leaves.
Angelonia varieties grow erect, boasting colorful blooms and sweet fragrance.

Similar to true snapdragons, most varieties of angelonia grow erect while others grow more horizontally yet not trailing. The tall varieties may rise to 36″ or taller, while shorter varieties stay under one foot in height. They all boast shades of blue, purple, pink, white, and, more recently, reds. 

These flowers are nicknamed “summer snapdragons,” but they don’t have a hinge on their blooms like true snapdragons do. Instead, their ¾ inch flowers are fused, tubular, and two-lipped. The foliage is dark green and glossy. Tiny hairs on the leaves and stems give it a sticky feeling. The blooms offer a sweet fragrance that is more intense and lingers in the air during periods of heat. 

How to Grow

Angelonia is praised for its easy maintenance and cheerful, bold-colored spikes that attract pollinators.

Light 

Close-up of blooming Angelonia goyazensis lavender flowers in a sunny garden. They present a captivating sight with their ethereal beauty, boasting delicate petals in shades ranging from pale lavender to deep violet. These blossoms adorn sturdy spikes that rise elegantly above the lush green foliage, which consists of lance-shaped leaves arranged symmetrically along the stems.
Plant in sunny areas for optimal flowering.

Place angelonia in areas that receive full sun for the best flowering performance, although some varieties will tolerate partial shade. 

Water

Close-up of flowering Angelonia goyazensis Benth plant covered with water drops. Angelonia goyazensis Benth is distinguished by its compact stature and vibrant foliage, with lance-shaped leaves showing a glossy green hue. Rising above the foliage are tall, slender spikes adorned with clusters of delicate, snapdragon-like flowers of rich violet color.
Make sure the soil dries out between waterings.

Water regularly and deeply as the plants get established. Mature plants can tolerate drought conditions. In times of extreme dryness, water with drip irrigation, but allow the soil to dry out before watering sessions. 

Soil

Close-up of flowering Angelonia plants in a flowerbed with lumpy soil. Angelonia plants exhibit a compact yet graceful appearance, adorned with glossy green lance-shaped leaves that form a lush backdrop for their abundant flowers. They grow spaced apart in clumps. Rising above the foliage are tall spikes bearing clusters of delicate snapdragon-like blooms in a variety of colors, including shades of pink and lavender.
For optimal growth, use moist and well-draining soil.

Soil preference is moist and well-draining. angelonia does not tolerate clay-like or compacted soil that does not allow roots to breathe. Add a thick layer of compost to your garden bed before transplanting to help with drainage. Ensure the area is weed-free. The pH should be slightly acidic at 5.5 to 6.2.

If your garden doesn’t have well-draining, fertile soil, plant in fabric grow bags or pots! These unique flowers perform very well in containers. Just remember to provide extra supplemental water because they can’t reach down into the earth to find it when the potting soil dries out.

Temperature and Humidity 

Close-up of a flower bed with colorful blooming Angelonia plants with mulched soil. Angelonia plants are characterized by their compact, bushy growth habit and glossy green lance-shaped leaves. The flowers, reminiscent of snapdragons, bloom in clusters along tall, sturdy spikes, showing a range of colors including white, pink, lavender, and purple.
This plant thrives in heat and drought, but needs airflow to prevent fungus.

Once established, angelonia can withstand extreme heat and drought and doesn’t seem to mind humidity. However, proper airflow reduces the risk of fungal disease, which tends to increase during extended periods of humidity. 

Growth slows when temperatures are below 65°F (18°C), making this the perfect garden addition for southern growers that experience high humidity and prolonged periods of heat. 

Fertilizer 

Close-up of blooming Angelonia salicariifolia under sunlight. Angelonia salicariifolia, commonly known as willowleaf angelonia, presents a graceful appearance with its slender, willow-like leaves that cascade elegantly along slender stems. Rising above the foliage are tall spikes adorned with clusters of small, snapdragon-like flowers in shades of pink and white.
Fertilize lightly with 10-5-10 formula to maintain proper growth.

Apply fertilizer regularly but lightly so stems stay bulky and at the proper height. Use a 10-5-10 slow-release formula monthly or bi-monthly, following the instructions on the packaging.

Too much fertilizer can cause legginess and more foliage than flowers. Slow-release fertilizer is ideal to prevent fertilizer burn or excessive foliage growth. Diluted liquid fertilizers are a close second option.

Maintenance

Close-up of blooming purple violet and white Angelonia salicariifolia in a black hanging pot on the balcony. This plant has slender, willow-like leaves that grow densely along upright stems, creating a lush and textured foliage. Atop these stems rise clusters of small, tubular flowers resembling snapdragons, which come in purple and white colors.
Low-maintenance summer snaps thrive in containers and in the ground.

Is your landscape in need of an easygoing thriller? Add angelonia anywhere that needs bright colors and a little height. No staking is necessary. 

Summer snaps are low-maintenance, needing very little attention, supplemental water, or pruning. While they can be grown in containers or hanging baskets, they perform best in the ground without extra attention

Pruning

Close-up of a woman in a white floral dress admiring flowering Angelonia plants in the garden. The woman has long dark hair. Angelonia flowers are characterized by their snapdragon-like appearance, with clusters of small, tubular blooms rising on tall spikes above the foliage. These flowers come in a variety of colors, including shades of white, pink, and purple.
Regular harvesting ensures season-long blooming.

Summer snaps will bloom for you all season with regular harvesting. If you pinch as you would with traditional snapdragons, it may lead to delayed flowering but will encourage a more compact and bushy plant.

Deadhead spent blooms. Cut back stems in mid-summer and optionally fertilize to refresh and rejuvenate your patch of summer snaps. 

Blooming

Close-up of a honeybee sitting on the pink Angelonia flower in a sunny garden. The Angelonia flower spike adorned with pink flowers presents a delightful sight, with numerous small, snapdragon-like blossoms clustered tightly along its sturdy stem. Each delicate pink flower features a tubular shape and a gentle, pastel hue.
These blooms attract pollinators.

Angelonia blooms from late spring to the first frost, depending on your growing zone and when your seeds are sown. Its sweet smell and open, easy-to-access florets attract beneficial pollinators, butterflies, and hummingbirds

Planting and Propagation 

You can propagate this flower by seed, stem cuttings, and root mass division. Plant angelonia after the risk of frost has passed in your area. 

Seed

Top view of young angelonia seedlings in a starter tray. The seedlings are small, consisting of short, vertical, strong stems covered with lance-shaped, glossy-green leaves with finely serrated edges.
Start seeds indoors with warmth and light.

Angelonia seeds are very tiny and borne in seed pods. They can’t germinate until they’re released naturally or removed by human intervention. Seed companies take care of seed pod removal and often pelletize the seeds for ease of sowing.

Sow seeds indoors six to eight weeks before your last frost date. Use a heat mat set to 70-75°F (21-24°C) and a strip tray filled with high-quality seed-starting mix. Gently press seeds into the mix but do not cover as light aids in germination—bottom water to keep the seeds from becoming displaced.

Germination should occur in 10-14 days after sowing. Provide direct sunlight or artificial lighting right away to avoid leggy seedlings. Step up into larger pots when they have a healthy root system and stem. 

Allow seedlings to grow indoors with ample heat, water, and sunlight until they have several sets of true leaves. Harden them off properly before transplanting them outdoors after the risk of frost has passed. 

Note that seeds saved from your garden will not produce an exact clone of the mother plant unless they are from the ‘Serena’ series.

Stem Cuttings 

Close-up of Angelonia plant's stem covered with leaves. The leaves, lance-shaped and glossy, boast a rich green hue with jagged edges. The stem is slender and sturdy with a pinkish tint.
Propagate non-patented plants by cuttings.

Perform this method with non-patented plants. Locate healthy plants at the beginning of the season. Using sharp, clean shears, cut about a four-inch cutting below a node on the stem near the base of the plant. Optionally, dip the end in rooting hormone powder, then add it to a container of potting mix.

Cover the surface with vermiculite to help with drainage. Remove any flowers and buried lower leaves. This will encourage the plant to send energy into creating new roots rather than on the blooms. 

Roots will form within two to four weeks. Step up as needed and transplant once the seedlings are properly hardened off. 

Pro tip: Alternatively, add the cutting to a jar of fresh water and place it in a sunny window or outside in its natural environment. Change the water often.

Root Mass Division

Close-up of dense green leaves of the Angelonia biflora plant in a flowerbed. The plant exhibits a lush and verdant appearance, with each leaf featuring a lance-like shape and a glossy texture. Arranged symmetrically along sturdy stems, the foliage forms a compact canopy.
Divide summer snaps for perennial growth.

This is an uncommon method, but it can be done in areas where summer snaps survive as a perennial. Dig up an established plant in the spring and carefully separate its root system into smaller sections.

Ensure each section has ample and healthy roots. Transplant the sections into fresh potting soil and treat as you would a young seedling or plant. 

Transplanting

Close-up of a flowering Angelonia angustifolia plant on mulched soil. Angelonia angustifolia is distinguished by its slender, lance-shaped leaves that form a dense, bushy foliage. Rising above this verdant backdrop are tall, erect spikes adorned with clusters of small, tubular flowers resembling snapdragons. These blooms are a rich purple color.
Plant your plants in the morning, giving them space and regular watering to settle in happily.

Transplant your purchased plants, seedlings, or hardened-off cuttings in the morning on a cloudy or semi-cloudy day once the risk of frost has passed. Loosen the soil and dig a hole just slightly larger than the root ball. Place the seedling in the hole and surround it with native soil, tamping it down slightly so the roots have good soil contact. 

Space plants at 9-18 inches. Water using drip irrigation at least once a week to help the plants establish. 

‘Serena®’ and its compact counterpart, ‘Serenita®,’ are the only seeds available on the market today. An exact clone of the parent plant is guaranteed and can be done safely by home gardeners.

Other series and cultivars of angelonia are available in plug form. This means they have been vegetatively or asexually propagated. They should only be propagated by cuttings or root mass division to ensure the same floral display.

‘Serena®’ Series

Close-up of flowering Angelonia 'Serena' Series plants in a sunny garden. The Angelonia 'Serena' Series is a collection of compact, bushy plants adorned with upright spikes of vibrant flowers. The flowers of the 'Serena' Series come in a range of colors, including shades of purple, pink, white, and lavender. The flowers are small and tubular, arranged densely along the upright stems, creating a charming display reminiscent of miniature snapdragons. The leaves are lance-shaped, with a glossy texture and a deep green color.
Grow colorful series from collected seeds stored for spring planting.

This series offers a mix of white, pink, and violet shades. It grows true-to-type from seed. If you’re sure your plant is of this series, collect dried seed pods in the fall and remove the tiny seeds from the pods. Once they’re fully dried, store them in a warm, dry, dark area until the following spring. 

‘Serenita’ Series

Close-up of blooming Angelonia angustifolia 'Serenita Pink' in a sunny garden against a blurred background. Its narrow lance-shaped leaves are arranged oppositely along sturdy stems, providing a backdrop for its abundant blooms. The Serenita Pink variety boasts clusters of small, trumpet-shaped flowers in deep shades of pink.
Dwarf ‘Serenita’ series boasts vibrant colors and grows to about a foot.

‘Serenita’ is a dwarf, compact version of the popular ‘Serena’ series introduced by Ball FloraPlant. Colors are more vibrant and deeper, and plants grow to about a foot. ‘Serenita Pink’ was given an AAS award in 2014, and the whole series was a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2016. 

‘Angelface’ Series

Close-up of flowering Angelonia Angelface 'Wedgewood Blue' in a sunny garden. Angelonia Angelface ‘Wedgewood Blue’ is a compact, bushy plant with slender stems bearing clusters of small, trumpet-shaped bicolor flowers. Its foliage is deep green and glossy, with finely jagged edges. Each bloom showcases a striking combination of two distinct hues, with a deep, rich purple serving as the backdrop for delicate, creamy white accents.
‘Wedgewood Blue’ features delicate blooms in soft, serene hues.

This series is a Proven Winner’s best-seller for its grape-scented foliage, extreme heat tolerance, and gorgeous colors. The blooms are a bit larger than others with taller stems and are available in bold shades. These can be used in place of short shrubs in landscaping designs. 

Try ‘Wedgewood Blue’ for a lilac and white bi-color option, ‘Cascade Pink’ for a gorgeous cascading deep rose, or ‘Super White’ for a long-lasting, reliable white bloomer. 

‘AngelMist Spreading Pink’

Close-up of blooming Angelonia 'AngelMist Spreading Pink' against a blurred background of green foliage. ‘AngelMist Spreading Pink’ presents a visually enchanting spectacle with its cascading, trailing growth habit and abundant clusters of delicate, trumpet-shaped flowers. The plant features lush, lance-shaped leaves of bright green color. The flowers themselves are a soft, ethereal shade of pink.
This cultivar makes a lovely ground cover with pink orchid-like flowers.

This low-growing option makes a beautiful ground cover that boasts orchid-like flowers in a lovely light pink shade. It spreads easily, blooms all season, and is very low-maintenance. Space plants at 9-12 inches for best results. 

Common Problems

Close-up of an Angelonia plant affected by root rot. The plant has yellowish, weak, withered leaves. Some leaves are dry, brown, and have a crunchy texture. Tubular flowers of delicate pink color grow on vertical flower inflorescences.
Prevent root rot with well-draining soil.

Angelonia has very few problems under ideal conditions and when properly maintained. If you notice aphids in your angelonia patch, they can be sprayed off with a gentle but solid water stream. Neem oil and insecticidal soap are alternatives. Follow the instructions on the packaging. 

Spider mites may feed on foliage, leaving behind pale spots, making your flower patch unmarketable and unattractive. The mites’ presence is obvious by the webbing they leave in their wake. Otherwise, they’re very tiny and hard to spot. If you have cobweb-looking structures in your angelonia patch, treat them with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Wipe down your plants with a damp cloth in between these treatments.

Powdery mildew is a concern if there is not ample airflow where humidity levels remain high. Cultivars range from low to high resistance to root, crown, and stem rot. 

Root rot is caused by soggy water and roots that can’t breathe. Fungi, bacteria, and several molds that develop in the soil cause this disease. Prevent root rot by ensuring your soil is properly draining. Pay close attention to above-ground symptoms like slow or stunted growth, yellow patches, wilting, and leaf drop. If you notice yellowing leaves, cut back on watering. 

Angelonia is deer and rabbit-resistant. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How should summer snapdragons be designed in the garden? 

Angelonia adds height and whimsical beauty to any style garden, planted en masse as a statement, along fences and borders, or on slopes to prevent erosion. Cascading varieties perform well in hanging baskets, along retaining walls, and in window boxes. If you grow snapdragons, mix in some summer snaps that will fill the bloom gap during peak summer heat when snapdragons slow down.

What are some good companion plants?

Grow Angelonia alongside ornamental grasses, geraniums, coneflower, sweet alyssum, or dusty miller for a cool contrast. Showcase tall varieties as the centerpiece of a large container or standalone garden, surrounded by native grasses, flowering ground cover, and small shrubs.

Is angelonia a perennial or annual? 

Angelonia survives as a perennial in zones 9-11 and is most often grown as an annual in cooler regions. Container-grown plants don’t typically survive winters when they’re brought indoors so your best bet is to save seeds or buy new plants each year.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a southern grower or experience high humidity levels, summer snaps are a great option for your garden. Enjoy them as perennials in zones 9-11 and a long-time blooming annual in northern climates. Use them as a filler, thriller, or spiller. 

SHARE THIS POST
A cluster of purple foxglove beardtongue flowers stands out, their trumpet-like shapes catching the eye. In the background, blurred manicured grass and more foxglove beardtongue blooms create a serene, natural setting.

Flowers

How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Foxglove Beardtongue

Are you looking for a beautiful spring-blooming flower for your pollinator garden? Foxglove beardtongue is a fabulous flowering plant that will attract all sorts of attention. In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will introduce the foxglove beardtongue and why you will want to grow one in your own garden.

A close-up reveals a cluster of vibrant yellow Celandine poppies, their delicate petals unfurling in the spring sunshine. The background softens into a dreamy blur, hinting at lush green foliage and other blossoms.

Flowers

How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Celandine Poppies

Would you like to grow some beautiful wildflowers in your shade garden? It can be challenging to find flowering plants that thrive in the shade, but the celandine poppy is an excellent candidate for a woodland garden. In this article, gardening enthusiast Liessa Bowen will introduce the celandine poppy plant and what it needs to thrive.

A vibrant California garden showcases a myriad of wildflowers, each boasting its unique color and shape. Bathed in the warm sunlight, the flowers burst into full bloom, creating a picturesque scene that captivates with its natural beauty and diversity.

Flowers

27 Native Wildflowers for California Gardens

A garden full of native wildflowers is a beautiful sight with benefits for the gardener and the ecosystem. In this article, gardening expert Melissa Strauss shares 27 gorgeous native wildflowers for California gardens.