Angelonia, or Summer Snapdragon
Bees love the little flowers of Angelonia, sometimes called Summer Snapdragon, an easy-care annual for flower gardens and containers.
Some plants have big flashy flowers, drawing you in from yards away to admire their in-your-face beauty. Others enchant with small intricate flowers, designed to attract small pollinators like bees with a variety of clever tricks. Angelonia, also known as Summer Snapdragon, is a great example of the latter, and this easy-to-grow annual is well-worth adding to your flower gardens or containers.
The Angelonia genus of about 30 species is native to Central and South America. The species most commonly grown in flower gardens around the world is Angelonia angustifolia, with multiple cultivars available. Angelonia plants grow to about 12 – 24 inches tall, depending on type, and 8 – 12 inches wide. There are multiple many-flowered stalks on each plant, with miniature detailed blooms on each that somewhat resemble snapdragon blooms (hence the common name). No deadheading is required – these flowers take care of themselves!
The blossoms have evolved to be pollinated by special types of bees that seek out floral oils instead of nectar. The tiny hairs deep inside the flower produce these oils. When the bees crawl in to harvest the oil, they inadvertently gather pollen on their legs and bodies, which they spread to the next flower as they travel.
Angelonia is excellent in flower borders or containers. This is a plant that thrives on heat and humidity, making it an excellent choice for southern gardeners. It’s an annual for most, though those in zones 9 – 11 may be able to grow it for several years as a perennial in the right conditions. Some folks even have luck growing this as a houseplant in a sunny window. Provide it regular water and full sun for best flowering. You can find Angelonia in garden centers, or start it from seed in the spring. (Park Seed offers the Serena series in pink, white, and purple.)