These exotic beauties, native to South America, can transform a terrace or patio into a tropical paradise. Angel Trumpets are large shrubs with lush foliage and masses of delightfully fragrant trumpets, 20 to 25cm (8 to 10 in) long, often blooming the first year from seed. They bloom continually, a mature plant, blooming from midsummer until frost, may display as many as 80 to 100 blooms at one time! In the cool, moist air of evening, their fragrance is spellbinding.
Grow in large containers, preferably in full sun, and winter them indoors near a sunny window. They can either be grown in a 20cm (8in) pot and pruned hard each year after flowering, or given space and allowed to grow into a specimen plant. If grown outdoors, Brugmansia will attain a height of 90 to 120cm (3 to 4’) the first season and can double in size in subsequent years.
Sowing: Sow at any time of year at temperatures of 15 to 21°C (60 to 65°F)
Brugmansia are fairly easily grown from seed. Soak the seeds overnight in hand-hot water. Fill small pots or trays with a good sterilized soil mix or seed compost. Firm the soil and stand the pots in water to moisten then drain. Sow the seeds on the surface, and then cover with a fine layer of vermiculite or sieved soil.
Do not exclude light as the seeds need light for germination. Cover the pots with glass or a plastic dome. Use a propagator if you have one as bottom heat is beneficial.
Maintain a temperature of 15 to 18°C (60 to 65°F) Germination can be between 2 to 6 weeks, so patience may be required. The trick is never to let them dry out; keep them moist but not wet at all times. Transplant seedlings when they have their first pair of true leaves and continue to pot on as roots emerge from the base of the pot.
Plants will not bloom until the trunk has forked or formed a "Y". The plant continues to fork and produces a bloom at each “Y”. Sometimes they fork when very young; sometimes they are a metre high before the first Y is formed.
Brugmansias are easy to care for. With frequent watering and feeding with standard, soluble fertilizers, your plants will virtually jump toward the sun. Forgetting to water doesn't kill these tough survivors, but it does reduce the chance of spectacular flower displays. Let the soil dry between waterings.
Shrubs develop new shoots and prepare their flowers during the spring period. At the end of the winter, add a good dose of humus or mature manure, or granular slow release fertilizer, at the foot of the plant. During the spring choose a fertilizer rich in nitrogen and potassium, to mix with the irrigating water, every 20 to 25 days.
Stems are flexible when young. Two or three plants can be twisted or plaited around each other forming a double or triple trunk tree.
If you decide to prune your Brugmansia instead of allowing it to grow naturally, you must wait until it begins to "Y." The purpose of pruning a Brugmansia is to force it to grow more limbs, thereby forcing it to produce more flowers. The proper way to do this is to cut all but the newest growth off, cut as close to the trunk as possible without cutting into the trunk. You may wish to do more research into this before beginning.
Protect large outdoor specimens by covering the soil around the stem with straw or dry leaves. Smaller plants may be dug up and brought inside. Cut them down if necessary. The best option for over wintering pot grown plants is in a conservatory, greenhouse or other location in which the plants receive full sun. If one maintains the temperature 12 to 18°C (54 to 64°F) while growth will be reduced, some will even continue to flower. At 5 to 10°C (41 to 50°F) the plants become dormant and can tolerate storage in darkness for extended periods. If the plants are stored at lower temperatures, less light is necessary; they can be stored in the garage or basement quite happily. The higher the temperature during winter storage the later the plants should be placed out in spring and the earlier they should be returned to storage in autumn. The most favourable timing for relocation is when the average outdoor temperatures match, as closely as possible, those of the winter location.
Brugmansia is named after Sebald Justin Brugmans (1763-1819). The common name “Angel's Trumpets” is often shared with the closely related genus Datura. The genus differs from Datura in being much larger, perennial and woody (Datura species are herbaceous), and in having pendulous (Datura have erect) flowers.
The word 'alba' refers to the white colour of the flowers. It derives from the Latin word album for a ‘writing tablet’ now used to mean ‘white’ in reference to the tablets historically being white.
Brugmansia are members of the Solanaceae family and are poisonous if eaten, especially the seeds and leaves. Although handling the plant isn't dangerous, it is advisable to wash your hands once you have finished.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 20 Seeds Family Solanaceae Genus Brugmansia Species suaveolens Common Name Angels Trumpet, Tree Datura Other Common Names Maikoa Flowers Ivory-white fragrant trumpets. Natural Flower Time Blooms throughout Summer Height 180-240cm (6-8’) outdoors Spread 150-180cm (5-6’) outdoors Position Full sun to part shade. Soil Moderately moist soils