Common name: Angelonia ‘Serena’ series
Botanical name: Angelonia angustifolia ‘Serena’
What it is: An upright annual flower that produces multiple spikes lined with dainty, orchid-like flowers. Although these “summer snapdragons” (as they’re sometimes called) look dainty, they’re actually very tough in heat and drought. This series comes in white, pinkish-lavender, purple and a blend of all three.
Size: One of the most compact angelonias… only 15 to 18 inches tall and wide.
Where to use: Great in pots or any sunny flower bed.
Why I like it: For starters, it’s something different from the petunias, marigolds, geraniums and impatiens that most people plant. But angelonia has that elegant orchid look that makes it seem like a plant that only real gardeners could get to thrive, even though it’s actually as easy as petunias and marigolds.
I especially like this series because ‘Serena’ is both compact and not terribly expensive (a result of it being a seed-grown type). They don’t mind the heat, they bloom all season and they’re stunning when paired with shrub roses. One of my favorite combos is massing a few packs of either ‘Serena White’ or ‘Serena Purple’ in with the three ‘Knock Out Double Pink’ roses I’ve got out front. Very nice.