Garden News: A low-fuss flower that loves heat? Meet angelonias _lowres

Photo by ALLEN OWINGS, LSU AgCenter -- Serena angelonias, also know as summer snapdragons, are tough, sustainable plants. These flowers do best under minimum fertilization and minimum irrigation, making angelonias truly a good, low-maintenance flower for Louisiana landscapes.

Gardeners tend to seek out flowers that are low-maintenance in their landscape, but they also want them to last spring through fall.

“Actually, it’s possible to select plants that will perform this way,” says LSU AgCenter horticulturist Allen Owings.

Some popular bedding plants that do this include vinca, begonias, coleus and angelonia.

You can add bedding plants during the summer, and angelonias are a great choice for both containers and landscape beds. They have become one of the top annual flowers for the Gulf States over the past 10 years.

Often called “summer snapdragon,” angelonias are tough, sustainable plants.

“Although it’s best to plant them in April or May, they perform well and do best in the landscape when we get to hot days and warm nights,” Owings says. “And they’ll last until the first killing frost.”

It’s best to not remove old flowers. “Deadheading” angelonias actually hurts the plant’s continual blooming characteristic.

These flowers do best under minimum fertilization and minimum irrigation. They will not perform as well when heavily fertilized or over-irrigated, making angelonias truly a good, low-maintenance flower for Louisiana landscapes.

Selected as a Louisiana Super Plant in 2011, Serena angelonias produce masses of flower spikes in five soft colors — Serena Purple, Serena Lavender, Serena Lavender Pink, Serena Blue and Serena White.

“Angelonias are great low-maintenance, no-fuss plants, and they have good drought tolerance once they’re established,” Owings says. They make a great addition to a “cottage garden”-type flower bed. They also attract butterflies.

Upcoming events

On Saturday, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden will present Garden Fest. Visitors can take a hayride to taste tomatoes, watermelons, peppers and fruit crops, and learn about the latest in vegetables and ornamental plants. The Louisiana Egg Commission will prepare and serve omelets, and visitors can sample Bloody Marys from Mason’s Grill.

Students from the Louisiana Culinary Institute will prepare tasting dishes, and food companies in the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator will offer samples of their products.

Children’s activities include water slides (bring your swimsuits) and Trixie the Clown. Admission event is $10 for adults and children 4-10 years old. Children under 4 will be admitted at no charge.

Got a gardening question? Write to GardenNews@agcenter.lsu.edu.