Angelonia angustifolia



Angelonia angustifolia

Benth. 1846

pronounced: an-jel-OH-nee-uh an-guss-tee-FOH-lee-uh

(Plantaginaceae — the plantain family)


common names: angelonia, summer snapdragon

Angelonia is derived from Angelon, the South American name for the plant; angustifolia is from two Latin words, angustus, narrow, and folium, a leaf. The plant has recently been transferred here from Scropulariaceae.

This is a genus of about 30 species native to South America. Some species are cultivated as ornamental plants for their snapdragon-like flowers, and all of them need warm temperatures and large amounts of sunlight.

Angelonia angustifolia is an erect little annual or perennial with smooth stems and narrow 5 – 7.5 cm long leaves with dentate margins and pointed tips.

It is native to Mexico and the West Indies. Some people say that the foliage smells like apples.

There are several cultivars and hybrids, notably:

       • ‘Angelface’® series; hybrids include ‘Blue’, 'Blue Bicolor', ‘Pink’, ‘Dark Violet’, ‘Dresden Blue’, ‘Wedgwood Blue’, and ‘White’;
       • ‘Angelmist’® series, in six different colours, is extremely vigorous and showy, to 60 cm tall;
       • ‘Alba’ has white flowers;
       • ‘Blue Pacifica’ has two-toned flowers in white and indigo blue;
       • ‘Carita Cascade White’, to 30 cm tall, with white flowers.

I think that the first plant pictured belongs to the first of these groups. Depending on the cultivar or hybrid, the flowers are rose-lilac to violet to blue, about 2 cm across and borne in slender upright spikes to about 20 cm long. The plant blooms for a couple of months or so in the summer. It is an evergreen with soft (not woody) stems and a bushy habit, and grows to 30 – 45 cm high with a spread of about 30 cm. The foliage is also attractive, even when the plant has finished flowering.

Angelonia also does well in containers, for patio planters and window boxes. In cooler climates than ours, they are commonly grown in pots and brought inside for the winter. Wherever grown, they need regular watering for best performance; but established plantings are moderately drought-tolerant. The soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings. In the garden, they are excellent as flowering edging in the front of perennial beds and borders. They are also good as cut flowers.

Angelonia may be propagated from tip cuttings, by division of the root mass, or by seed. Plants look best with upright flower spikes: any that threaten to lean or topple over should be cut off. Overfertilizing will result in lots of leaves, few flowers and weak stems. If plants get tall, they should be cut back.

Proven Winners, USA
The Ball Horticultural Company, USA

Photographs taken in Picnic Bay 2010, 2011
Page last updated 9th October 2018