Brugmansia (angel's trumpet)

This evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub makes a large, striking container plant for a conservatory or cool greenhouse. It is grown for its bold, trumpet-shaped flowers, which are often deliciously scented. Although these plants are not fully hardy, they can be positioned outdoors during the frost-free summer months.

Brugmansia were once known as Datura, but that name is now used only for certain annual or short-lived plants with similar but less pendulous flowers.

brugmansia

Quick facts

Common name Angels trumpet
Botanical name Brugmansia (syn. Datura)
Group Evergreen shrub
Flowering time Late spring or summer to autumn
Planting time Late winter or early spring
Height and spread 1.8-3m (6-10ft) or more, by 1.5-3m (5-10ft)
Aspect Indoors in bright, full light; or outdoors in a south- or west-facing position
Hardiness Frost hardy to frost tender
Difficulty Easy

Cultivation notes

Brugmansia are not difficult to grow;

  • They are ideal for a large container. Pot into John Innes No 3 compost or other potting media and position in a sunny spot
  • Water freely from spring to autumn and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser each month
  • During winter, water sparingly and ensure there is a minimum night temperature of 7-10°C (45-50°F) and day temperatures between 10-12°C (50-54°F)
  • You can repot, if necessary, in early spring once growth commences. When it is impractical to increase the pot size, top dress annually by removing a 5-10cm (2-4in) layer of compost and replacing with fresh compost

Toxicity

All parts are highly toxic if ingested and sap may be an irritant. For more details, see our page on potentially harmful garden plants.

Pruning and training

These large shrubs are naturally vigorous, but tolerant of hard pruning. You can cut back to within 2.5cm (1in) of older wood, ideally leaving a balanced framework of branches. Carry out pruning annually in October when the plant is moved back indoors (earlier if the frosts arrive sooner in your region).

It is preferable to keep the plant at a size of about 1.2-1.8m (4-6ft) as flowering will be affected by continual hard pruning.

Propagation

There are a couple of ways to increase brugmansia;

  • The easiest method is to propagate from semi-ripe and softwood cuttings about 10-15cm (4-6in) long. Insert cuttings into sandy, free-draining compost with bottom heat of 18-21°C (65-70°F) in spring or late autumn
  • Sow seeds at 16°C (60°F) in spring. A heated propagator will speed up germination and improve the success rate

Cultivar selection

Brugmansia arborea 'Knightii' (maikoa) AGM: has hose-in-hose, scented, double, white flowers borne from late spring to autumn.

B. × candida 'Grand Marnier' (angel's trumpet) AGM: bears trumpet-shaped, night-scented apricot flowers up to 30cm (12in) long from summer to autumn. Leaves are large and have wavy margins – up to 60cm (24in) long

B. suaveolens (snowy angel's trumpet) AGM: has tubular, bell-shaped, night scented flowers in shades of white, yellow or pink from early summer to autumn

Links

RHS Find a Plant
AGM plants

Problems

Angel's trumpets are prone to attack by glasshouse red spider mite, which causes the leaves to appear speckled or bleached. Glasshouse whitefly and mealybugs may also be a problem. Prevent these pests with biological controls or treat infestations with approved insecticides – see the individual web pages for full details.

Nutrient deficiency or overwatering can result in discoloured leaves and loss of foliage.


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