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Angel's Trumpet - Brugmansia spp.

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Angel's trumpet Photo © Lisa Hallett Taylor of Pool & Patio

Overview:

The show-stopping hanging trumpet-shaped flowers of angel's trumpet (Brugmansia spp.) make this a delight for any garden. It is tropical and grows best in gardens in Zone 9-11, but it certainly can be used as a container plant and brought inside when cool. Angel's trumpet can be either a shrub or a small tree. Be careful - it's poisonous!

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Latin Name:

The scientific name is Brugmansia spp. There are several species in this genus. As a member of the Solanaceae family, it is related to plants like tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and tobacco.

Common Names:

Some names you may see are angel's trumpet, brugmansia, tree datura, and angel star.

USDA Hardiness Zones:

This plant grows best in Zones 9-11. Use as a container plant in other zones and bring inside.

Size & Shape:

Angel's trumpet can be 6-20' tall and 10-15' wide, with a vase shape.

Exposure:

In cooler zones, full sun is fine. In the warmer zones, place where it will receive shade in the afternoon.

Foliage/ Flowers/Fruit:

The leaves on Brugmansia are 6-8" long.

The flowers are trumpet-shaped and can grow up to 20" long. They can come in shades of white, peach, pink, orange or yellow.

Angel's trumpet can flower year-round in the warmer climates. Unlike the related datura, the flowers droop. The flowers are fragrant, especially in the evening.

The fruits are oval and 3-6" long.

Additional Facts:

Be careful when planting this - all parts of angel's trumpet are poisonous, or at least narcotic in small doses.

Relatives include datura, nightshade, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and eggplants.

These are also called by the common name 'datura'. However, datura is an annual plant, while brugmansia is a woody plant.

Design Tips:

Perfect for use as a specimen plant - the flowers attract notice easily.

Angel's trumpet can be planted in a pot (plastic is preferred since this is a large plant to move) for use on a patio or indoors.

Growing Tips:

The best growth for Brugmansia occurs in acidic soil, though it can tolerate alkaline well. It does not tolerate salt well, and is not drought resistant.

Angel's trumpet should be fertilized at least once a week. Large plants can be fertilized 2-3 times a week. Do not use slow-release fertilizers since these will not work fast enough. Use a water soluble fertilizer such as Miracle Gro.

This is a very thirsty plant. It needs to be watered well and often. If in a pot, make sure there is enough drainage so it doesn't get water logged. As long as the soil appears wet and there is no wilting, the plant is fine.

Propagation is through seeds and cuttings.

Maintenance/Pruning:

Train a central leader when angel's trumpet is young if you would like to grow it in tree form.

The Brugmansia Growers International advises: "The best time to trim your plant is in the fall. Always keep at least 6-10 nodes on the branches above the Y for flowers the following year. {...} It is the branches that are above the Y which will produce next year's flowers."

You don't really need to prune angel's trumpet at all unless it is getting in the way, though.

Pests & Diseases:

Whiteflies can be a big problem for angel's trumpet. Cabbage worms, spider mites and aphids are also common. Other pests that may appear include cucumber beetles (in the Mid West), slugs and snails, fungus gnats (inside) and mealy bugs.

Root rots can occur if watered too frequently.

Possible diseases include tobacco mosaic,, tomato spotted wilt, fusarium wilt, verticillium wilt, Phytophthora, Phoma, and Botrytis

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