It’s the year of the angelonia, the summer snapdragon

By Heather Kirk-Ballard

LSU AgCenter Horticulturist

One great plant for summer color is the angelonia. The National Garden Bureau has named 2024 the Year of the Angelonia alongside hostas, squash, lilies, buddleias and African violets.

The National Garden Bureau been around since 1920, giving plant recommendations for home gardeners. It is a U.S.-based nonprofit promoting gardening that collaborates with seed producers and gardening businesses to provide resources and educational materials about plant varieties. The bureau’s “Year of the” campaigns highlight specific plants to inspire gardeners.

This year, the bureau has chosen to celebrate the angelonia (Angelonia angustifolia). This flowering, warm-season bedding plant is a reliable, long-lasting bloomer that tolerates heat, humidity and drought. This perennial plant is known as summer snapdragon due to its elegant, dragonlike flowers. It blooms from May through October, thriving in summer heat and humidity.

The Serena angelonia series was named a Louisiana Super Plant for 2019. Its flowers come in mauve, pink, purple, blue and white, adding vibrant color to any garden. Serena angelonias are ideal for borders, groundcovers and containers, attracting butterflies, bees and hummingbirds with fragrant foliage.

Introduced in the 1990s, the angelonia has evolved with new varieties like the Serena and Serenita series, offering more compact plants with strong flower spikes and expanded colors. These new cultivars can be seed grown, a significant improvement over the original cuttings-only propagation.

Plant angelonias in well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade in USDA zones 8 to 11. They grow 10 to 14 inches tall and wide. Space them 12 to 15 inches apart. Water newly planted transplants regularly, especially in extreme heat. Once established, they require less water, and soil should be allowed to dry between waterings.

No special fertility program is needed; just use a slow-release fertilizer at planting and supplement with liquid feed as needed. Watch for aphids, spider mites, whitefly and fungal diseases like powdery mildew and root rot. The Serena angelonia is generally low maintenance.

For a stunning summer display, consider planting angelonias. Both Serena and Serenita raspberry are Louisiana Super Plants. Plants in both series come in a variety of other colors. Look for them at local nurseries, and for more information on Louisiana Super Plants, visit

In addition to the Serena and Serenita series, there are new cultivars and series that are being released in the trade. Some popular series include Angelface, Archangel, Alonia and Carita.

The Angelface series includes blue, white and pink varieties. These are semi-upright plants with excellent branching habits and large, vividly colored flowers. They perform exceptionally well in hot, humid climates. As the name suggests, the Archangel series includes larger flowers in colors of purple, deep raspberry red, white and vibrant cherry red.

The Alonia and Carita series also come in blue, purple, pink and white colors. These varieties offer a diverse range of hues and forms, making them versatile choices for gardens, borders, containers and landscape plantings. They share common traits such as heat tolerance, continuous blooming and low maintenance requirements.

Incorporating angelonias into your summer landscape can transform your garden into a vibrant, low-maintenance oasis. Embrace their ease and elegance for a flourishing garden all season long.

Plants with purple and white flowers.

Angelonias are grown as a warm-season bedding plant. They are known as summer snapdragons due to their elegant, dragonlike flowers. LSU AgCenter file photo

Plants with pink and white flowers.

Serena series angelonias have flowers that come in mauve, pink, purple, blue and white, adding vibrant color to any garden. LSU AgCenter file photo

5/30/2024 11:36:30 AM
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