There's no sight like an angel's trumpet (Brugmansia) heavy with blossoms. The perfume that the flowers release is extremely sweet and intoxicating. These plants will bloom year-round if given the proper care. Hailing from South America, these beauties prefer damp conditions with warm days and cool nights. Angel trumpets are in the Solanaceae family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and petunias. The showstopping hanging trumpet-shaped flowers make it a delight for any garden. It's tropical, growing best in zones 9–11, but 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.
- Nature Attraction: A showy container plant, it's fragrant—especially at night—and can be pruned as heavily and often as you like.
- Key Tip: Plants can take intense sun on the flowers and leaves. The colors of the flowers change as they become spent. Remove spent flowers to encourage more flower production. After established for a few months, they become quite drought-tolerant.
- Shelf Life: Plant in larger pots and place outside immediately after the night temperatures stay above 45°F.
- Plant Preparation: Unpack immediately and remove any packing material. Transplant into larger 10"–12" containers separately or together in an even larger container. Cut away any yellow or brown leaves or broken stems that may have occurred. This grooming is completely normal and will take place as the plant grows. New leaves and stems appear as the old ones are cut away.
- Soil: Angel's trumpet prefers bagged potting mixes (for well-draining houseplants). Most garden centers carry ones containing perlite, vermiculite, soil, and sand.
- Re-potting: Re-pot into larger 10"–12" pots separately or together inside one larger container. You may increase pot size each spring until it's in a 15" container.
- Planting Depth: Dig holes twice the width of the root ball and about 5"–6" deep. Place them in holes and pack soil firmly around the roots.
- Planting Spacing: If planting in a garden or together in one container, space at least 20" apart.
- Watering: Water thoroughly a couple times a week. Repeat all summer. They like moisture in the soil at all times during the growing season while flowering. They're drought-tolerant once established, although flower production usually diminishes.
- Fertilizer: This helps maintain flower size and count from year to year. For best results, use a well-balanced fertilizer that promotes blooming (like Roberta's Flower Magic Plant Food) once a week from April–October.
- Lighting: Full sun is preferable, although partial or dappled sunlight all day will suffice. Too little light will cause soft, limp foliage without any flowers.
- Blooming Time: Expect blooms after 8–10 weeks upon receipt. Angel's trumpet continues to bloom throughout the summer and autumn.
- Temperature Zones 9–11: You may place plants outside as long as evening temperatures stay above 45°F.
- Grooming: Cut away any yellow or brown leaves during summer. Remove spent flowers to help encourage more production.
- Pruning: These plants can be pruned at any time from October–March. During the winter, if you're short on space for a containerized plant, cut back to about 2' tall every year. Otherwise, more gradual pruning is a good thing to do every spring. All pruning will encourage new leaf buds to grow new branches for more flowers.
- Winterizing: Plants rest from October–March and usually drop their foliage. Reduce watering to about once or twice a month. Keep above freezing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What if my plant's root-bound?
A: When contained, these plants can grow so root-bound that they practically break through the pot. As long as that doesn't happen, they'll grow very well. Bear in mind that non-root-bound plants need a lot more water than their tangled counterparts.
Q: Why do the leaves droop sometimes?
A: This happens when the soil's too dry. Remedy by watering the plant heavily until you see excess water drain from the pot. Then do it again.
Q: My plant lost its leaves because it got too cold. What should I do?
A: If you leave angel's trumpet outside in the fall too late and temperatures drop below 40°–45°F, the leaves will probably fall away. Bring it back inside and the leaves will grow back. This is a good time to cut your plant back (unless you want it to grow even bigger).