Season-long spikes of delicate, cup-shaped flowers make summer snapdragon a good choice for containers. Because it's both heat and drought tolerant, it will stand up to hot, dry summer days. This native of Mexico and West Indies is a perennial in its local setting, but it's used as an annual in zones cooler than Zone 9. It's a good cut flower, so consider placing it in the front of a sunny border where you can snip sprigs for a fresh bouquet. Its scented foliage is on firm stems, so the blossoms don't droop in fresh-flower arrangements. Various varieties of this tender perennial have mauve, blue, white, pink, or bicolor flowers.
Common name: Summer snapdragon, angel flower
Botanical name: Angelonia angustifolia
Plant type: Tender perennial
Zones: 9 to 10
Height: 12 to 18 inches
Family: Scrophulariaceae (snapdragon or figwort family)
- Sun: Full sun
- Soil: Well-drained soil
- Moisture: Water regularly, but allow soil to dry out between waterings
- Mulch: Add a 1- to 2-inch layer of organic mulch to deter weeds. Keep the mulch away from plant stems to prevent stem rot.
- Fertilizer: Apply balanced organic or slow-release plant food if needed. Excessive nitrogen will promote leggy growth and fewer flowers.
- Pruning: When this tender perennial is used as an annual, deadheading isn't necessary because the plant doesn't set seed at season's end. When used as a perennial in warmer climates, shear in midseason to promote more flowering.
- The Angelmist series (including ‘Angelface White', pictured above) has won "best of the year" awards from universities in Oklahoma and Georgia. The series includes five other colors.
- ‘Alba' has white flowers.
- ‘Blue Pacifica' has bi-colored blooms in blue and white.
- Summer snapdragon is a good choice for window boxes because it's heat and drought tolerant.
- Pair with other sun-loving, colorful annuals such as petunias, verbena, and bacopa.
- Discard container-grown plants at the end of the season where the plant isn't hardy.
Pests and diseases
- Aphids and powdery mildew.
- Sow seeds in spring.
- Where hardy, divide any time of the year.
All in the family
- Snapdragons (Antirrhinum spp.), monkey flowers (Mimulus spp.), penstemon, mullein (Verbascum spp.), and various wildflowers such as the Indian paintbrush are in the same family as summer snapdragons.
Text by Mary Pestel, photo courtesy of Proven Winners