July 16, 2016
Please identify this plant. I bought it this spring and promptly lost the plastic info tag. I'm hoping it is a perennial and it receives at least six to eight hours of sun where it is planted. Also, any care instructions will be appreciated.
The plant in question is a summer annual called Angelonia or summer snapdragon. It comes in purple, pink, white or bi-colored. It is a heat lover and will bloom from frost to frost, but you will need to replant each year. As with all annuals it will bloom best with regular fertilization and water when really dry.
To do in the garden for April.
We can begin to plant summer bedding plants, from Angelonia to zinnias. If your winter annuals are still spectacular, wait a bit, or start interspersing the new with the old. You can safely plant warm season vegetables, including tomatoes and peppers mid month. Keep an eye on the weather forecast, just in case you do need to cover them. Corn and green beans can be planted now as well. We are harvesting winter vegetables, including greens, lettuce, English and sugar snap peas, broccoli and spinach. If you didn't plant an early garden, the farmers markets are all about to get started later this month. When your lawn has totally greened up (with grass, not weeds) then that is the time to fertilize for the first time. A slow release, high nitrogen fertilizer is best. Houseplants and tropical plants can start their trek outdoors. Remember to gradually expose them to sunlight, so they don't sunburn if they have been inside your house all winter. Cut back the tropical flowering plants by at least 1/3; repot and begin fertilizing. By now, all plants should have started growing in your garden. Assess the damage that last summer took. If you need to replant, there are plenty of options at garden centers now. If you need to replace some azaleas, or simply want to add to your collection, and you want a specific color, buy them in bloom so you are guaranteed the color you are looking for. Start watching for insects and diseases. The mild winter has everything getting started early. The sooner you can catch a problem, and properly identify it, the sooner you can get it under control.
I have a neighbor that needs some help with her nine window boxes. Her window boxes are 36" long, 7 1/2 " wide and 6 " deep, and they have a nice layer of moss all around, and no plastic liner. There are 4 on the first floor and 5 on the second. They get some morning sun, the 4 on the right more - maybe 4 hours, and the 5 on the left maybe 2-3 hours. Watering is not a problem, but her house is a dark red. Light pinks, yellows, white and any shade of green, especially the silver ones would look good. She would like a cascading effect on the top 5 as they are so high up. Would perennials work? That way she wouldn't have to replant every year. Any suggestions you have would be wonderful.
There are two reasons I would probably opt for more annuals than perennials. First, I wonder how long perennials would last in these window boxes. The soil temperature will get much colder in these moss lined wire containers than in the ground, the containers aren't that large, so the volume of soil is smaller, and they will be elevated, so my guess is that most perennials would freeze or at least go totally dormant during the winter. Another downside for flower potential, is that perennials have a defined season of bloom and then they have a period of just green growth. Do you want them to have color in the winter months as well? How awful would it be to use annuals? For the summer season, Silver falls dichondra would be fantastic in them as would the sweet potato vine--there is a pink and white variegated one, or even the Blackie would look good. If you want to try a perennial, try variegated Vinca major or the variegated needlepoint ivy. Creeping jenny would also be nice, but the bright yellow of the foliage might clash--you may want to go with the green one. For color in the pots that is more upright, try the Zahara zinnias, bubblegum pink petunias or angelonia. These are all annuals, but give you way more color in a season than perennials would. Some of the smaller ornamental grasses may also be a perennial option for filler.
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