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On Gardening: Angelface Wedgewood Blue will make you a believer in summer snapdragons

Norman Winter, Tribune News Service on

Published in Gardening News

The day you look at a Wedgewood Blue Summer Snapdragon is the day you will get hooked and believe anything is possible with today's flowers. It looks as though each flower is a rare piece of hand-painted porcelain. Wedgewood Blue is part of the Angelface series of summer snapdragons, which represents nine different selections with pages of awards.

If you are about ready to hit pause button on The Garden Guy and ask what in the world is a summer snapdragon, I don't blame you. I would return by asking: Do you know this flower by the name of angelonia? The industry spent a number of years calling the plants angelonias, and many continue the trend -- and that is OK.

Then others like Proven Winners switched to summer snapdragon, which is about perfect. Botanically speaking they are Angelonia angustifolia and native from Mexico to the West Indies, Central and parts of South America. They are indeed as much a snapdragon as the cool season Antirrhinum majus from Europe that many of grow as a fall planted annual. If you look at the flower close-up, you indeed see what looks like a mouth with some tiny chompers.

The angelonia or summer snapdragon seems to be on an unstoppable course of rising popularity thanks to varieties like the Angelface series. It seems every year there are new varieties, new colors and habits from their heights and widths to those that trail. Not only are we experiencing the influx of new varieties, but commercial landscapers and savvy gardeners everywhere are creating new and dazzling combinations from the flower border to the mixed container.

The Garden Guy has been growing Angelface Perfectly Pink and attracting a lot of attention with its large flowers and sturdy robust branching, I am using them as thriller plants in smoke-stack type containers with Lemon Coral Sedum and Whirlwind Blue Scaevola. I was amazed at the quick branching giving multiple blooming stems. Gardeners, I promise you will love it.

Angelface Wedgewood Blue, the variety I mentioned first, has won awards from Oregon State University in the West to Cornell in New York, so you may be wondering about the hot, humid south. Well, it was Top Performer and Best of the Best in University of Georgia Trials and a Perfect Score All Summer at Oklahoma State University. Don't forget its native range is hot and humid, sweltering with lots of rain.

One of the most elegant uses I ever had the opportunity to see and photograph was a container with King Tut papyrus grass as a tall but airy thriller and Angelface Wedge Blue used as a drop-dead gorgeous midlevel thriller. Superbells Apricot Punch calibrachoa was the spiller that also mesmerized.

 

The Angelface series offers four standard selections that reach 18 to 30 inches in height, and two extra-sized Super Blue and Super White that can reach a whopping 40 inches. The newest are three that trail and go by the name Cascade: Cascade White, Cascade Pink and Cascade Blue. Those that trail or cascade reach up to 14 inches in height, but with the ability to spread nearly 30 inches.

Growing is easy. Select a site in full sun for best blooming. Know that this plant is so tough you can even plant in mid-summer as a landscape pick-me-up. Though it is rough and persevering, please do not stick in tight, concrete-like soil. Before you plant, incorporate 2 to 3 inches of organic matter in to your bed, or better yet plant on rained beds using a prepared landscape mix.

Angelonias are terrific, low maintenance, worry-free plants. They will work superbly in a "grandma's cottage garden" type landscape and yet have the ability to look at home next to bananas or elephant ears in a tropical style garden. The Angelface Series has won 143 awards, so the real issue is to make sure 2020 is the year you give them a try.

(Norman Winter, horticulturist, garden speaker and author of, "Tough-as-Nails Flowers for the South" and "Captivating Combinations: Color and Style in the Garden." Follow him on Facebook @NormanWinterTheGardenGuy.)

(c)2020 Norman Winter

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

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