Maranatha Nursery & Landscape
Licensed Nursery Stock / Plant Sales & Landscape Contractor
Winnsboro / Wood County, Texas
Angel's Trumpet / Brugmansia Catalog Maranatha Nursery Home About Maranatha Nursery & Landscape
The BRUGMANSIA or ANGEL'S TRUMPET
Angel's Trumpet's or brugmansias are
wonderful large growing sub-tropical plants from Central and South America. Listed as
perennials in warmer climates ( to Z8 ), and typically a
"southern garden" plant, these plants can be
grown easily, and bloom, in containers. This means you can enjoy
these plants in much colder climates than those in which they
are planted outdoors, in the ground. With additional thought
toward cold protection, they can be grown outdoors, in the
ground, in colder
zones than typically listed. I have successfully grown a few brugs
outdoors in the ground in a Z6 location ( Jasper, AR ) by protecting the root
system very well through winter. This simply means
"mulching heavily". Also, by making use of
"micro-climates", meaning slight helps in just how
cold any given spot will get in winter, the ability to plant,
outdoors, in Zone 6 / 7 locations is improved.
There are few plants that give such joy to the owners, and visitors to a garden, as the brugmansia. Amazing, extremely large flowers on easy to grow, vigorous plants make Angel's Trumpets a beloved, special item for those who own them, and those who first lay eyes on these beauties !
Picture of our "Peach" brugmansia
There is much information available on these plants, but there also seems to be some fairly common mistakes, as well. The information shared here is from my personal experience of about 25 years with these plants, as well as a never-ending learning experience as a pro nurseryman and landscape contractor.
First, the Angel's Trumpet (brugmansia) is in the nightshade family, same as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc. It is a poisonous plant, but has come to have a rather exaggerated negative identity for this. It is no more poisonous than the tomato plant ! As with many poisonous plants, it can be called an hallucinogenic plant ... the problem is that there is a place at which the "hallucinogenic" becomes TOXIC. There is a lot of highly exaggerated negative information out there regarding the toxicity of the brugmansia. Folks don't realize that a very high percentage of all landscape and garden plants are poisonous. So we teach our children not to eat ANY plants, leaves, flowers, AND we follow the same rules. When you read or hear strange, strong stories of wild ways in which you can be poisoned by this plant, you can assume they are untrue.
Second, I grow all my plants in MUCH LESS than "full sun" ... I see these plants listed as "full sun" regularly, and I believe this is one of the main reasons for limited success or problems with this plant ( if that is what one experiences ). I have successfully grown them in almost FULL SHADE since my very first plant, a simple white one, about 25 years ago. That simple, single white brugmansia, growing in an almost full shade location, made a lifelong impression upon me. I prefer to have brugs in a "mostly shade" location, which has spotty, or mottled sun reaching the plants. Also, a great exposure situation is for these plants to receive the early morning sun and then be protected from full, direct sun for most of the day. Part of the trouble with trying to grow them in "full sun" (especially in containers ), is that every possible way these plants can be stressed out, is increased. They need a lot of water, and they have to grow happily to a fairly large size before blooming, so if a plant is stressed due to lack of moisture, or more sun than it wants or needs, you are fighting a constant battle to give it a "happy home", or to put it another way, to give it desirable growing conditions. The farther north ( in the US ) you are, the more sun you can give a brugmansia ... but if you see significant wilting, pale foliage, and your plant seems to be stressed in general, then try less sun.
"Jean Pasko" brugmansia
| Another very important point is that the
plant itself brings MUCH joy and gardening pleasure, BEFORE it is in bloom !
This is simply about it's vigor and durability, and the ENERGY that brugmansias
Exceptionally large foliage, fast growth, and just the amazing POWER these plants exhibit while "doing their thing" is similar to that of watching corn grow ! For many gardeners, when we first see how corn grows overnight, we are astounded. It is that kind of thing with brugs. : )
The beautiful variegated variety at right is an exceptional example of this ! I would gladly have this plant simply for its beautiful foliage. And the same is true for any brugmansia, for me, because the green leaved varieties and cultivars display this great vigor and energy as well. Foliage that is 18" long x 8" - 12" wide is common on happy, larger plants.
|| At left,
and below, is our
"Versicolor Peach" Angel's Trumpet ... a particularly
nice plant that has very long, tubular, vertically hanging
flowers similar to the "Ecuador Pink" brug. It's
flowers open white and turn to peach the same day ! It is a
This picture will also give you an idea of a "happy" plant in a 3 - 4 gallon container, the plant size necessary to bloom, and what a wonderful show you can enjoy with brugmansias in containers !
Another thing ... even though sunny at the time this picture was taken, this plant is NOT in "full sun" by any means. It received early - mid morning sun and very spotty, mottled sun throughout the rest of the day.
The farther north you are, the more sun you can give a brugmansia ... but if you see significant wilting, have pale foliage, and/or your plant seems stressed or unhappy, then try less sun. : )
|Container Growing vs. "In Ground" Plantings|
In containers ...
Brugmansias are famous for easy container growing, and the ability to successfully winter over in a dormant state, with virtually no care. Conversely, if given light, water, and warmth, they will actively grow and bloom in containers thru the winter months. I sell plants to folks in far northern locations frequently, and give them the following information for success with Angel's Trumpets in pots. : )
1) Brugmansias like a LOT of root room. The more the better, up to the point where moving a LARGE container becomes too difficult for you. Transplanting ( bumping up ) a 1 gallon plant into a 5 - 7 gallon pot is about right. Angel's Trumpets have a very vigorous root system, and the more soil they have to work with, the better they like it. This point is one reason they perform SO well outside, in the ground. But I have literally hundreds of plants in containers all the time, and many LARGE plants, blooming very well and growing happily. Almost all the pictures you see on this website are taken of brugmansias being container grown.
2) Angel's Trumpets need, want, and use a LOT of water when growing in containers. They are very herbaceous plants ( soft, watery wood ) and thus the water quality matters significantly. So, here is the key : use "seasoned water", or rain water ... do NOT use water straight out of the tap, as chlorine and other additives / chemicals will make your brug unhappy.
3) Blooming in containers is achieved by, and equates to these things : Age, "happiness", and regular watering. Brugs have to be old enough, mature enough, to bloom. In size, this usually means a plant needs to be 4' - 5' tall before it will bloom. You can see that it's trunk will bulk up, and usually be at least about 1" in caliper before it is blooming size. I have brugs in pots that have 3" - 4" caliper trunks at the bottom ! ( And as long as you keep them growing and happy, the trunks will continue to get larger). So, the point is that you need to be patient, and just keep the plant happy and growing well, and then, usually surprising us, it will all of a sudden have little buds appear ... usually about a month after we are giving it the "WHERE"S THE DANG BLOOMS?" treatment. : ) And you just keep watering your plant, and keeping it happy, and watching it grow, and you will see your blooms in due time. Occasionally, a brug will bloom at a small size, in a small container, but that is not the norm. Another key to knowing your Angel's Trumpet is close to blooming size, is the "above the Y" factor ... when a plant branches, off it's main leader trunk ( forms a Y ), then you are getting closer. For the most part, you will not see flowers below the "Y" ... sometimes the reason a plant blooms at a small size, is that it was a cutting taken above the "Y", and this helps it bloom as a small plant. But this is not always the case ... for the most part, you simply have to let a plant get some age / maturity / size before you can expect blooming. Don't get all hung up on getting plants that are "above the Y" cuttings ... just grow your plant big, happy, and with regular care, and you will see the big flower shows we all want. : ) A small plant, even if an "above the Y" grown cutting, will only possibly pop off a bloom or 2 ... brugs must be large and have some maturity before making a big flush of flowers. Another term for this "above the Y" principle is to say that your Angel's Trumpet has begun it's lateral branching, and your first small flower buds are likely to appear soon !
4) Protecting from cold / frost : Frosts WILL damage the foliage and flowers immediately. Killing cold, of say maybe 20 - 25 degrees, can kill your entire container grown plant ... the trunks and root system. SO ... you can leave your plant out as fall comes and winter approaches ... say in 38 degree temps, if you do not expect frost. When frost is in the forecast, bring it in, under cover, etc. When the temps are to be at or below freezing, you can expect damage to the stalks and trunks ... so this brings us to the last "growing in containers" section ...
5) How to handle brugmansias regarding the COLD : Basically, you have 2 options ... you can keep the plant growing, or let it go dormant, and wait until spring to let it return to active growth. Brugs are famous for "wintering over easily" in containers ... just keep your plant out of freezing temperatures, and killing cold, and it will almost certainly make it thru to spring. This could be done in a garage, or basement, or in the greenhouse. I have cut fairly big plants back to 12 - 18" tall, put them under a bench in the greenhouse, and forgotten them completely until spring. Since they are not getting water, and very much light, they will just wait in a mostly dormant state, until they get the light, water, and warmth they want to grow. On the other hand, in the same greenhouse, by leaving the plant intact ( not cutting back ) and continuing to water it, and having it out where it does get more light, it will continue to grow, and even bloom, right through the winter.
* Here's a key to blooming for those of you in colder climates : Leave the plant as big as possible during your winter "hold over" period. The "cutting back" is only about physical size issues we often have to save a plant over through the winter. If you can leave the plant as big as possible, you will reach blooming size (time) quicker the next year.
* Here's how to grow a brugmansia OUTDOORS ( and thus benefit from the ease of an "in ground" planting ) even in northern, or colder climates : --- ( coming ! )
Our "Pink" brugmansia
Container Growing vs. "In Ground" Plantings
In the ground ...
Basically, you will have a much easier situation with brugmansias in the ground, if your climate permits. Also, they will be more vigorous and faster growing as well. Don't let this worry you ... it is the truth with almost any and every plant. It is still very much worthwhile to have brugmansias in containers.
More info coming !
How's this for a BIG picture !!!
THIS IS OUR "YELLOW / GOLDEN" ... for sale in our Brugmansia CATALOG ... this plant has incredibly strong, sweet scented flowers, and a long bloom duration ( flushes overlap ; less time between flushes ) ... it is a versicolor brugmansia, meaning the flowers change color to some degree ... this variety opens a soft, clear yellow, and ages to more orange-y / golden yellow. I have seen this plant actually have a very burnt orange color to the older flowers. Usually though, it is just a little more golden / orange-y after the flower ages the first couple of days. The picture above was taken in the (cold) greenhouse in mid-winter !
"Ecuador Pink" brugmansia ...
One of the most in demand, and almost always in limited supply.
Proceed to our BRUGMANSIA CATALOG - All brugmansia orders from this site must be placed HERE
Starter Plant Specials ( 3.5" - 4" pots, most varieties 8" - 10" tall ) ; Most are $7.00 - $8.00 each, or 4 for $27.95 - $31.95
1 GAL = $15.99 - $29.99 ( approx. 12" - 18" tall, medium caned trunk, usually first year growth )
3, 4, 5 GAL = $39.99 - $59.99 ( approx. 4' - 5' tall, some medium but mostly heavy caned trunk, usually at least 2 years old ) (these plants are only sold on-site, at our nursery)
God is all powerful, all knowing, and all present ... : )