Angelonia

There’s a chapter in my book, Texas Tough Gardening, called “Bulletproof Perennials,” and here’s an excerpt about one of them:

Angelonia a.k.a. Summer Snapdragon – This tops my list because it’s my absolute favorite. It’s one of those erect little perennials with distinctive toothed-margin leaves and pointed tips, but more importantly flowers that are vibrant violet to blue. They also come in white. Their 8- to 10-inch upright stems make the flowers really stand out. And they bloom over a long period, from May to the first frost. And there’s one more great attribute: If it doesn’t freeze too hard, they act like evergreens, bouncing back at the first sign of warmer temperatures.

Now, angelonia may not be everyone’s favorite perennial, so get some advice at a mom-and-pop independently owned-and-operated nursery. Those garden centers have knowledgeable people on staff who can talk with you about the kind of perennials you prefer. The “Bulletproof Perennials” chapter in my book has an entire list of no-fuss Texas-tough plants.

Here’s the criteria for these no-brainers:

First, they have to be truly low-maintenance. Once you plant them, you can mostly forget about them. The only exception would be keeping them watered during times when Mother Nature is isn’t helping with weekly rains. Otherwise, they should survive with little to no maintenance once established. And, they need to do just fine in containers or raised beds. Katie ruellia is a perfect example of such a perennial.

Second, bulletproof perennials won't die from an insect attack. They can get insects, but even if left untreated, they probably won't expire. Purple verbena and lantana are great examples in that category.

Third, they have to be durable enough to withstand our intense summers or a freeze in the high-20s or low-30s. Now, I’ll admit that my angelonias didn’t make it through the twin freezes of January 2018. But, I still love them, and that’s why I planted a whole bunch last May.

We’re getting close to our second-best planting season of the year – from the end of September through November. I hope you will take the opportunity to plant gobs of bulletproof perennials.

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