Thursday, March 7, 2013

How do I grow Angelonia?

Angelonia Purple Stripe
Angelonia Angelic Purple Stripe

Almost exactly 12 months ago I wrote about Angelonia. It was an entirely new plant to me that we were just trialling.  The trials looked great but the retail response was tepid at best, still we were impressed by the plant's hardiness in the warm weather so we planned a small crop for this year.  Lisa and Amanda have found an improved response to Angelonia this year and want us to grow it again for Summer 2014... BUT, we have to work harder at ensuring people know about Angelonia and just what a great Summer flowerer it is.  So here's a start.

Based on last year's feed back we planned to have plants ready for Christmas sales. That was almost our undoing.  Angelonia is a cutting grown plant that we grow under license so we have to buy in young plants (NO taking our own cuttings). We ordered our plants for delivery over winter with a plan to grow them slowly and produce compact flowering plants for Christmas.  The poor things didn't know what had hit them! Stuck out in our shade house with virtually no protection they went backwards, then further backwards. Space is now tight in the nursery so the poor ugly, struggling Angelonia were just left shivering.  Keep in mind these plants were re-potted in the depths of winter so once they had been stressed something had to change to break the cycle.  Finally the weather warmed enough to encourage some root growth and they got the start they needed and have grown into very attractive flowering pots. So why tell the story?

Angelonia reminds me of a number of tropical/sub tropical perennials that we grow successfully in Melbourne (Bouvardia, Duranta, Gardenia, etc) gardeners understand that over winter they will look sad but a trim and a feed once they start to put on their first Spring growth and they will soon look fantastic.  Not only that but they thrive in our summer.  We have found them very happy in the full sun, a little shade won't hurt but they will start to stretch and produce fewer flowers. It is apparently happy both dry and wet but we have noticed it preforms best when it is allowed to dry out between irrigations, this helps prevent stretching.  Angelonia is a plant that responds well to a savage cut so if they get out of hand a trim is easy and highly recommended, they will need a solid cut as soon as they show signs of new growth in Spring.

Having learned a little more about growing Angelonia we'll have another go and hopefully we'll find a few more gardeners have tried them and fallen in love with them.  I still haven't given up on a pre-Christmas batch, we will just have to be a little more caring.

Angelonia Deep Plum

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