Summer Snapdragon

​Summer snapdragon is a colorful bedding plant that can be covered with dramatic spikes of orchid-like blooms from early summer through the fall.

Download photo



Submitted by Beth Willis, Trials Coordinator for the UT Gardens, Knoxville

Angelonia, commonly known as summer snapdragon, is a fantastic choice for your garden. This colorful bedding plant can be covered with dramatic spikes of orchid-like blooms from early summer through the fall.  Individual flowers may be as large as one inch across, with numerous blooms on each stem. Different varieties offer shades of purple, blue, pink, and white; some are even bi-colored. Most will grow to a foot or two tall and wide during the season. The most commonly available varieties are cultivars of A. angustifolia, which has been extensively hybridized. The scientific name refers to a characteristic of the dark-green, glossy foliage, which is thin and needle-like.

Not to be confused with true snapdragons, which wilt as summer temperatures climb, Angelonias thrive in the heat and perform best in full-sun locations. Site them in average, well-drained soil. Once established, they are fairly drought tolerant.  Native to South America, they are perennial in warmer climates (Zones 8-11), but we grow them as annuals here in Tennessee. They can be propagated by tip cuttings or by seed.

Angelonias are low-maintenance plants. They require no deadheading, although they will quickly become bushier if occasionally cut back. They have no significant problems with insects or diseases. They work well in containers as well as in the landscape. They even make wonderful cut flowers, often lasting 10 days or more.

A number of Angelonia cultivars are available commercially, and we’ve had the pleasure of growing many of them at the UT Gardens. The ‘Serena’ series from PanAmerican is somewhat unique in that it can be grown from seed, and it is slightly more compact than other varieties.  Proven Winners offers the Angelface® series, which has been bred for flower performance and for its upright, branching growth habit. The SungeloniaTM series from Suntory Flowers is very uniform and compact. The last that I will mention, though certainly not the least, is the ArchangelTM series from Ball Horticultural Company, which boasts larger-than-average blooms on well-branched plants.  Regardless of your choice, summer snapdragon can be a colorful addition to your landscape.

Beth Willis is the trials coordinator for the UT Gardens, Knoxville. The University of Tennessee Gardens located in Knoxville and Jackson are part of the UT Institute of Agriculture. Their mission is to foster appreciation, education and stewardship of plants through garden displays, collections, educational programs and research trials. The gardens are open during all seasons and free to the public. See and for more information.


Make plans to see the colorful displays and ornamental plantings July 12 in Jackson at the University of Tennessee’s West Tennessee AgResearch and Education Center during the center’s annual Summer Celebration. Nearly 3,000 gardening enthusiasts are expected to attend this combination indoor/outdoor program.  Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 17 and under.  For more information, visit the website: and click on the link for the Summer Celebration.



Beth Willis, UT Gardens, 865- 974-7324,

Patricia McDaniels, UTIA Marketing and Communications Services, 615-835-4570,