CULTURE NOTES
6/29/2015

Archangel Angelonia: An Angel in the Garden

Ryan Hall
Gardening in summer provides a great opportunity to explore new varieties that one would normally not be exposed to during the spring rush of planting. Heat and humidity often bring stress to many annuals that wither away during the warmer months. However, there are a handful of plants that not only survive, but will actually thrive through the dog days of summer. One such genus that continues to make a play for retail bench space and a seat at the table in the summer garden is angelonia.

Angelonia angustifolia and its hybrids are an excellent item for both containers and the landscape—and the color range continues to grow with brighter and bolder options available. Angelonia Archangel from Ball FloraPlant has been leading the charge in this class with new and improved varieties available each year. Many issues that have held back angelonia in the past— notably small flowers, limited color range and poor branching—have been overcome with extensive breeding in angelonia. Archangel is one of the best representations in this class.  

Archangel changed the game by introducing exceptionally larger flowers mated to well-branched, medium-vigor habit. This combination of flower size and grower-friendly habit gave it a WOW factor in the greenhouse and at the point of sale. Ball FloraPlant also broke ground with extensive development of brighter and bolder flower colors, including Raspberry, Dark Purple and new Orchid Pink for 2016, with its dark pink flowers and spotted throat.

Archangel Angelonia also benefits from being part of Ball FloraPlant “Real Series” of genetics. Real Series uniformity brings excellent flowering, as well as habit uniformity to Archangel, giving growers the full package of performance, color range and ease of production. Archangel is the ideal series for growers looking to add depth and color to their late spring and summer programs, while delivering a product to their customers that will look great at retail and thrive through the heat of the summer
season.

Growers should find producing Archangel Angelonia a breeze, especially when following these basic guidelines to ensure top-notch quality to deliver to market. Here are a few tips on how to maximize the potential of Archangel Angelonia in your production.

Crop time rooted liner to finish
Angelonia benefit from time and appreciate a bit longer crop time in production to see their full potential and WOW factor at retail.
    
Media & pH
Angelonia appreciate a well-drained media that’s kept evenly moist, allowing drying in between irrigations. Growers should avoid excessive dry down, as this can overly stress the plant. A standard bedding plant pH of 5.8 to 6.2 works well for producing
angelonia.

Temperatures
Angelonia are heat lovers and thrive in warm growing conditions. Growers should produce Archangel with minimum night temperatures of 62 to 70F (16 to 21C) and daytime temperatures of 74 to 85F (23 to 29C). Growers should avoid growing angelonia too cold, as this will result in longer crop times and poor overall growth.

Light levels
Angelonia grow best under high light levels. High light will give growers the most compact, well-branched plants, along with the best flower coloration. Growers should produce angelonia under a minimum of 6,000 to 10,000 f.c. Producing angelonia under too low of light will negatively impact overall habit, branching and delay flowering.

Fertilizer
Angelonia are heavy feeders and do best when given a constant rate of nitrate-based feed between 175 to 225 ppm N. Growers should avoid ammoniacal-based fertilizers, as this can contribute to soft and leggy growth, and inferior overall plant quality.

PGRs
Archangel Angelonia is a mid-vigor series ideal for 1-qt. and 2.5-qt. containers. Typically, plant growth regulators are not needed on this series. If growers do desire additional control, B-Nine/Cycocel tank mixes are very effective in controlling growth. Recommended rates are between 1,500 to 3,000 ppm B-Nine combined with 750 to 1,000 ppm tank mix(s). Growers should avoid using Florel, as this can cause adverse growth and increase crop times.

Pests & diseases
Angelonia are susceptible to root rots and botrytis. Root rots can be avoided with proper sanitation and moisture management. Preventative fungicidal drenches at the time of transplant are also beneficial in preventing root rots. Proper air circulation, temperatures and light levels will help avoid botrytis. 

There are a few pests that can prove to be problematic for angelonia, including thrips, aphids and spider mites. Proper scouting and preventative controls are the best way to manage insect pressures.
 
Angelonia are fantastic summer annuals that are versatile in their ability to brighten mixed containers as a thriller element or dominate a landscape with their bright colors and free-flowering nature. Growers that are looking to fill that summer bench space with products that will not only survive, but thrive, should look to Archangel Angelonia as a great solution for their customers. In the greenhouse, growers will appreciate Archangel’s Real Series uniformity and ease of production. In the garden, consumers will appreciate Archangel’s wide range of bold and vibrant color that will thrive all summer long. GT

Ryan Hall is Product Manager for Ball FloraPlant, stationed in Arroyo Grande, California.