Imagine: Call me picky, but when I plant an annual in late May I want it to still be looking good in September…maybe even into October. I’m willing to give it continual fertilization. I’m willing to deadhead it once. (Maybe more often if I’m feeling attentive, but I’d like not to have to deadhead at all if that’s possible.) Frankly, there are many plants that live up to my expectations, and this is one of them.
Name: Angelonia hybrid ‘ANSTEEL’ USPPAF, Can PBRAF aka (thankfully) Angelface Steel Blue
Type of Plant: Angelonia is often referred to as a “summer snapdragon” but it’s not a snapdragon at all. This spiky, upright annual adds height to a mixed container.
Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love the fact that the flowers look like a miniature foxgloves has been crossed with an orchid. I love that the blooms on Steel Blue are larger than most Angelonias. I like how consistently this plant flowered all summer for me. I occasionally pinched off some of the older stalks to encourage the growth of new ones, and this did result in a fuller, more flower-filled plant. But I also liked seeing that in the test garden at Elm Bank in late August, this Angelonia was in flower even though no one was deadheading or pinching it. Bottom line, with a little attention it will go from OK to spectacular.
A Word to the Wise: Truth: It’s purple, not blue. They could have come up with a more accurate name. That said, this plant seems to withstand a variety of growing conditions. It will be on my shopping list again next year, and I look forward to trying it in combination with other annuals.
Plant it with a combination of a time-release fertilizer and an organic granular…and maybe give it a boost of liquid synthetic fertilizer in August. Steel Blue will reward you with flowers all summer and into the fall.