In this article, we will be discussing how to grow this colourful tree of Brugsmansia in containers. If you have seen a Brugmansia or Angel’s trumpet to give its common name in flower, you would want to grow this plant immediately.
Once observed it will not soon be forgotten. They are small trees or shrubs that can grow up to 2.5m in height, even more in their native climates, where the shrub is covered in elegant blooms. The only problem is that they are tender and they need to be brought indoors in autumn and winter to protect them.
WHAT ARE BRUGMANSIAS?
At first glance, Brugmansia and Datura look alike and many assume that they are the same. Although both are commonly called Angel’s trumpet, they are not in fact related, as both belong to separate genus. Brugmansia is in fact a tree, whilst Datura is a shrub. To tell them apart you will need to observe how the flowers hang. If the flowers are pointing downwards then it is a Brugmansia, whilst in Daturas the flowers stand more to attention.
As mentioned earlier they are tender plants and most people assume that they will not do well in the UK. This is not true as in colder climates they can be grown and enjoyed as long as you grow them in containers.
The flowers are not only gorgeous to look at but the pendant, trumpet-shaped blooms have such an intoxicating evening fragrance. The flowers can be white, off-white or orange and appear from summer to early autumn.
GROWING BRUGMANSIAS IN CONTAINERS
As stated earlier you must use a container to grow them. It must be a large container that is at least 60cm in diameter and at least 30cm in height. Fill it with a 30% by volume mix of horticultural grit and 70% by volume of multipurpose compost in full sun and where harsh conditions will be limited.
It can only go outside once the temperature is greater than 10 degrees Celsius and can remain outdoors until the temperature drops below this. Normally in early autumn, they will need to be brought indoors and protected.
Once you have planted your Brugmansia, you will need to keep it well moistured. In summer, it needs to be watered freely, even up to twice a day, whilst in winter, you will only need to water the plant maybe once a month.
In containers, the Brugmansia will never reach its full height but it can grow up to 2.5m or more. To some, this is too much and it can become too tall to store it indoors in winter, especially if you do not have the room. This is why in spring, it is best to cut the branches to a suitable framework. This will not only keep the plant smaller but will have the extra benefit of keeping it neat and tidy.
It is a very quick growing plant in summer and will look the best at the back of low growing container plant displays. Pruning will not reduce the flower show or the frequency it will flower, so do not worry if you get the pruning wrong.
WHAT TO DO TO OVERWINTER BRUGMANSIAS
Once it turns cold you can bring it indoors and treat it as a houseplant. Place it in a sunny windowsill and allow the compost to dry out as recommended earlier in this article. It will be without flowers but still, the plant will be in leaf and looking good.
If it is getting too big to store as a houseplant you can force the plant into dormancy. Place your plant in a cool dark place such as a garage or basement that does not get too cold or suffer from frosts. Once the plant is in its winter home, you will need to water it sparingly, at least once a month.
It will start to look like the most horrendous plant that you will ever see and you cannot imagine it going from a thing of beauty to something you want to hide. Leaves will be lost and some of the outer branches will die. As long as the trunk is still green, then it has a good chance of surviving and regrowing next spring.
A month or so in April take your container plant outside and start to water it more frequently, at least at weekly intervals. Better yet is to bring in indoors and shine a bright light to bring the plant back into life and leaves. After a week it will start to form new leaves and shoots will start to appear if the plant is still living. It is surprising how quickly it will come back into life. You will then need to harden it off before placing it outside from late spring and summer when frosts have disappeared.
THEY TEND TO BE PEST AND DISEASE-FREE
The plant is very vigorous and suffers from little disease and pests, but they can suffer from greenfly, whitefly and red spider mites. It is best to deal with these pests quickly and as soon as they are observed.
VARIETIES TO GROW
Varieties to grow includes ‘Knightii’ that produces an abundance of double, white flowers and ‘Grand Marnier’ that has pale peach flowers. Alternatives include ‘Fragrant Pink’, ‘Double Fragrant White’ and ‘Double Fragrant Yellow’
In this article, we have discussed how to grow Brugmansia in a container to give a colourful summer display. They may look exotic but if you overwinter them in a suitable place, then year after year you will get a beautiful container display.
To get the best from them, you will need to place the container plant in a sheltered location away from strong winds but remember to water them regularly, especially so in summer. In winter they need to be either bright indoors or placed in a garage, where indoors is far easier to look after than in a garage.
If you want a plant that is not often seen in container displays then this is a plant for you.
If you have any questions or comments that you want to know on how to grow Brugmansia in containers, please do so in the comment box below.
Happy Brugmansia growing.