More Information About Brugmansia
The genus Brugmansia (Angel Trumpet) is a perennial member of the Solanaceae family (like tobacco and tomato) from South America that has long been prized for its huge, fragrant, pendent flowers.
When people see their first angel trumpet in flower, they are awed by the giant 10 inch long exotic flowers and powerful nocturnal lemon scent. Most angel trumpet plants feature pastel-colored flowers of white, orange, yellow, or pink. If the giant flowers are not enough to tempt you, then some Angel Trumpets also have variegated leaves.
Like all members of the Solanaceae family, the sap, leaves, flowers and seeds of brugmansia are highly poisonous which makes the plants deer-resistant. You too should handle Brugmansia with care...avoid contact with the sap, wear protective clothing, wash after touching, etc., as the chief toxic compounds are strychnine, atropine and scopolamine, all of which can kill.
We have found several angel trumpet hybrids that are winter-hardy in our USDA zone 7b climate (if well-drained and well-mulched). If you buy brugmansias, do so early in the year so that the plants are well-established by the time the first frosts arrive. If you live further north, angel trumpet plants make amazing tender perennial specimens in large containers. A containerized brugmansia plant can be cut to the ground for winter or, if you are short on space, 1' long sections of the trunk can be saved in slightly moist peat moss for the upcoming season.
Angel trumpets are tall, sun-loving perennials (small trees actually), sometimes topping 10' in height with a canopy nearly as wide. Keep your brugmansia well watered and you will be rewarded with large numbers of flowers in late summer and fall. Although most brugmansia plants are not equally winter hardy down to 0 degrees F, they also make great container tender specimen plants for the summer patio anywhere.
How to grow Angel Trumpet
- Sun: Full sun is necessary to maximize Angel Trumpet flower production.
- When to plant?: If you are growing it in the ground, then plant after the temps warm up into the 70s but before mid-summer so that the roots can be well established before the first cold season.
- Soil: Should be well-drained, especially in winter when root rot is possible. In a container, do not let the pot sit in a saucer of water.
- Water: Lots during the growing season. Angel Trumpet blooms best when kept well watered. It is easy to see if your plant is not getting enough water because the large leaves droop.
- Fertilizer: Lots. Angel Trumpet flowers best with plenty of fertilizer given regularly during the spring and summer.
- Containers or in the Ground?: Both. Angel Trumpet looks great in a large container provided you can water it enough when it is big. Even in a large container, you may have to water it twice a day from July to October. In the ground, Angel Trumpet roots can explore a larger volume of soil and thus have a larger pool of water to draw from and thus tends to be less stressed, which leads to more flowers.
- Overwintering: In temperate areas, container grown Angel Trumpets need to be moved to a cool dark room for the winter. They will defoliate and should be kept just barely moist...watch out for root rot though. Garden specimens can be given a winter covering of mulch to insulate the roots but they plants should not be touched until spring when the first hints of growth occur.
- Pruning: The previous years growth will die back to the ground in temperate climates. These trunks and branches should be left in place until spring when you see new growth occurring. Then you can cut back the old and make the plant look nice.
- Safety: Angel Trumpet is deadly poisonous if ingested. Don't eat it or make a tea from it. The sap can also cause skin rash in sensitive people. When handling the plant, wear long sleeves and gloves and eye protection. Do not touch anything (eyes, mouth, etc.) until after washing your hands.