I wrote a chapter in my book Texas Tough Gardening, called Bullet Proof Perennials, and I’m going to share with you an excerpt or two from that book, especially about one of those perennials in particular: ANGELONIA!!!
First, however, let me say while Angelonia may not be everyone else’s favorite perennial, don’t let that sway you from getting advice at the mom-and-pop/independently owned and operated nurseries. Those are the kind of nurseries/garden centers that have people on staff that can walk and talk with you about what kind of perennial you do like. Because, as the Bullet Proof Perennials chapter in my book, has an entire list of no fuss/Texas tough perennials.
(From: Texas Tough Gardening with Randy Lemmon)
Angelonia, a.k.a. Summer Snapdragon, tops my list because it’s my absolute favorite. It’s one of those true erect little perennials with distinctive toothed-margin leaves and pointed tips, but more importantly flowers that are a vibrant violet to blue. They also come in white. Those upright stems make the flowers absolutely just stand out on the 8- to 10-inch high stems. And the flowers bloom over a long period, from May to the first frost. And one more great attribute: if it doesn’t freeze too hard, they act like evergreens, bouncing back at the first sign of warmer temperatures.
So, let’s discuss the criteria for these no-brainers, like the Angelonia truly is. First, they have to be truly low-maintenance. Once you plant them, hopefully you can forget about them, with the exception of keeping them watered during times like these, where Mother Nature is not helping with weekly rains. And if you can feed them maybe two times a year with slow/controlled release fertilizers like Color Star or Color X-Press from Nitro Phos, then you’ll keep them feed for blooming action for 6-plus months in one calendar year. Another way to look at no-fuss perennials is that they need to be able to survive with little to no maintenance once established. And for me, they also need to do just fine in containers or raised beds.