Angelonia is a colourful flowering herb originating from Central America and the Caribbean.
Growing up to 60 cm (2 ft) tall, it has semi-woody stems near the base with herbaceous growth on top and produces showy flower spikes on and off throughout the year, the flowers coming in purple, pink and white varieties.
It is cultivated as a perennial in subtropical and tropical climates and as a summer annual in cooler climates.
Angelonia is cultivated to create a mass of colour and texture in garden beds and containers. The flower-spikes also make excellent cut-flowers that are long-lasting in floral arrangements, with a vase life of up to two weeks. They are best cut for arrangements when the first two to three flowers have opened on the spike.
Grows naturally in moderately humid subtropical and tropical lowland to mid-elevation climates, generally areas with annual lows of 11 to 25°C, annual highs of 21 to 35°C, annual rainfall of 1000 to 2500 mm and a dry season of 6 months or less.
New plants are usually raised from cuttings or packaged seed. Plants grown from home-grown seed may give unpredictable results due to a high probability two different-coloured varieties cross pollinating.
Angelonia performs best on free-draining, well-manured loam, sandy-loam and loamy-sand soils of a moderately acid to neutral nature, generally with a pH of 5.8 to 7.0 and on sites with full to partial sun exposure. Minimal maintenance is required but it benefits from a yearly cut-back, weeding and feeding program.
It is well-suited for growing in containers, which provide the free-draining environment it needs for good growth and flowering performance.
It is listed as a weed in at least one reference publication and is naturalised outside its native range, but does not appear to be any record of it anywhere as a serious weed. The small seed are, however, likely to be easily dispersed by wind and flowing water.
Adams, C. D. 1972, Flowering plants of Jamaica, University of the West Indies, Mona, Greater Kingston
Chaplin, L. T. & Brandies M. M. 1998, The Florida Gardener's Book of Lists, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas
Cook, O. F. & Collins, G. N. 1903, Economic plants of Porto Rico, Government Printing Office, Washington D. C.
Editors of Sunset Magazine 2012, The New Western Garden Book: The Ultimate Gardening Guide, 9th edition, Sunset Publishing Corporation, California
Randall, R. P. 2002, A global compendium of weeds, R.G. and F.J. Richardson Press, Melbourne
Randall, R. P. 2007, The introduced flora of Australia and its weed status, Cooperative Research Centre for Australian Weed Management, Glen Osmond, South Australia