Brugmansia sp.

Brugmansia sp.
Source: Forest & Kim Starr

Brugmansia or Angel’s Trumpet is a genus belonging to the solanaceae or nightshade family and closely related to Datura.

This evergreen tree grows very fast and flowers abundantly.

The flowers are magnificent, plentiful and pleasantly scented.

This plant is easy to grow, provided you give it sufficient water and fertilizer.

But be careful: all Brugmansias are toxic in all parts of the plant!

Description:

The leaves are large, grey-green and soft with indented, sinuate smooth edge.

The trumpet-shaped flowers are large: 14-50 cm long and 10-35 cm in diameter.

Common name:

Angel’s Trumpet

Etymology:

Brugmansia: in honor of Sebald Justinus Brugmans (1752-1822), a Dutch naturalist.

Species:

The genus includes two groups:

Differences between Brugmansia and Datura:

Brugmansia:

  • pendant flowers
  • non-self-fertile flowers
  • fruits without spines
  • perennial shrubs or trees (up to 70 years)
  • propagated by seeds or suckers

Datura:

  • flowers erected
  • self-fertile flowers
  • fruit with spines
  • annual
  • propagated by seed

The two genera Brugmansia and Datura are extremely toxic.

Brugmansia 'Peaches and Cream'

Brugmansia ‘Peaches and Cream’
Source: Cliff

Distribution:

Discovered in the 19th century in South America where it occurs along the Andes from Colombia to northern Chile and south-eastern Brazil in the subtropics.

Its name was given in honour of Sebald Justinus Brugmans, a Dutch professor of natural history (University of Leyden).

It is currently widespread and grows wild in the Caribbean and Oceania and was naturalized in America and Europe.

The different species are inter-fertile, we find both spontaneously and in horticulture a great number of varieties, making it difficult to find a pure plant source.

Usage:

Brugmansia and Datura are extremely toxic (lethal!) in all parts of the plant because they contain alkaloids.

They are used for shamanistic rituals in Peru and west of the Amazon region.



Flowers:

  • 14-50 cm long and 10-35 cm in diameter
  • generally white or yellow but also pink, orange or red
  • very fragrant, rather in the morning and evening and becomes heady at night
  • single or double flowers
  • blooms profusely all summer until early autumn

Height:

2 to 3 m
11 m in their habitat

Hardiness:

USDA Zone 9, -1 to -2 °C over short periods
In USDA zone 8 it can survive the winter with a good winter protection to the roots but this is risky, it is better to place the pant inside in a cold but frostfree room.

Brugmansia suaveolens

Brugmansia suaveolens

Care:

Soil:

Rich and well drained

Exposure:

Full sun preferred, semi-shade (especially in warmer climates)

Watering:

They require extensive watering during the growing season: at least once a day or 2 times per day in case of heat wave.

Be careful though not to have the substrate very wet all the time: plan a gravel layer at the bottom for good drainage and avoid saucers under the pots so as not to have the pot in standing water.

In winter, watering can be spaced, let the soil dry between watering but not to much otherwise your plant will die.
You will see the leaves become more flaccid when they need water.

Fertilizer:

Brugmansia is a plant with extremely fast growth. It therefore needs a lot of fertilizer in order to obtain this development in your garden or on your terrace or patio.

A fertilizer for roses or geraniums is the ideal fertilizer but any other fertilizer (universal, agricultural …) will do.

Choose a liquid fertilizer to be diluted in water because solid fertilizers release nutrients too slowly for Brugmansia’s rapid development.

Never provide fertilizer if the substrate is dry, the roots might be burned.

During growing season, give fertilizer weekly.

Heat:

Brugmansia loves the summer heat. Bring them outside around March-April but only during the day to harden them. As soon as the danger of frost is over, around May-June, you can leave them outside.

In winter, put them in a room where the temperature is ideally around 13 °C and does not fall below 5 °C.

Limit watering without letting the root ball dry out completely, the plant would die.

Pruning:

You can prune the plant but the pruning will limit the next bloom.

Brugmansia sanguinea

Brugmansia sanguinea

Propagation:

Seed, cutting or layering.

Sowing:

  • soak seeds 1-2 days in warm water: in a Thermos flask, in a pot over a heater or other quite hot place quite, in a mini-heated greenhouse or heated aquarium type case
  • sow seed in a very light soil
  • the general rule is to cover the seed with a layer of soil about the thickness of the seed
  • sow seeds in a single pot that you put in an aquarium, mini-greenhouse or enclose the pot in a zip-lock plastic bag or cover type of plastic wrap that you hold with a rubber band, which keeps a good moisture without need to water regularly
  • maintain a temperature of 20-36 °C
  • germination: 2-3 weeks to several months
  • seedlings can be transplanted when they have 2-3 leaves in a humus rich soil.

Cutting:

  • cut off a piece of stem (10-15 cm) by cutting above the first point of fork of a branch: these cuttings will flower more quickly than those taken below the first point of the fork.
  • get rid of lower leaves
  • soak the cut end in rooting hormone (optional)
  • plant in light soil
  • moisten
  • cover with a plastic bag
  • another method is to cut a plastic soda bottle to one third of the height. After having planted the cuttings, put the top part over the lower part, it will make you a very cheap mini-greenhouse
  • keep out of the sun
  • if the cuttings are kept warm, rooting takes place in two weeks. Otherwise it may take up to six weeks.

Layering:

  • cut a branch at 2/3
  • dip in rooting hormone (optional)
  • surround the nick with compost or peat
  • surround with cloth
  • moisten the whole thing
  • pack in a plastic bag
  • roots will appear in 2 to 6 weeks
  • when the rooting is done, cut the stem to separate the new plant from the parent plant

Data sheets per species:

Brugmansia hybrids:

Image sources

  • Brugmansia sanguinea: Slick

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