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Brugmansia are annual trees or shrubs (in our climate) with pendulous, not erect, flowers. Ranging in height from 6-30', most have tan, slightly rough bark and produce spiny fruit. The leaves are generally large and alternate, some with toothy margins and covered with fine hairs. Their common name refers to the large, very dramatic trumpet-shaped flowers. These may be single or double, growing 8-20" in length and up to 12" across. Color ranges from white through yellow to pink and even orange or red. Most also boast an attractive scent with citrus overtones, most noticeable in early evening.
Almost all varieties of Brugmanas and Datura are spectacular specimen plants ideally suited for the garden spotlight. Angel trumpets are awe inspiring as the centerpiece in containers. They can also be used to create dramatic backdrops in mixed borders that say, "WOW!" As they are most fragrant at night, and most have white or very light colored blooms, they are also ideally suited for moon gardens. Planted in tall pots or overhanging banks they form an intoxicating bower for evening garden parties or romantic dinners.
Datura is a genus of nine commonly recognized species. Its precise and natural distribution is uncertain due to its extensive cultivation and naturalization throughout the temperate and tropical regions of the globe. Within the Americas its distribution is mostly restricted to the U.S. and Mexico, where the highest species diversity occurs.
Daturas are herbaceous, leafy annuals or short-lived perennials which can grow up to 6' in height. Leaves are alternate, velvety textured, with a lobed or toothy margin. Flowers are erect or spreading, trumpet-shaped, and 2-8" long by 2-4" wide. Most are moderately to highly fragrant especially at night. Flower color varies from white to yellow, pink, and rich purple. They may be single to fully double in form. The fruit is a spiny capsule giving rise to its other common names of thorn apple and devil's apple. When ripe they split open releasing many seeds.
Several South American plants formerly thought of as Daturas are now considered as belonging to the distinct genus Brugmansia. Morphologically the two main differing characteristics are that Daturas are herbaceous annuals or short-lived perennials with erect flowers, while Brugmansias are woody shrubs or small trees with pendulous flowers. Other related genera include Hyoscyamus and Atropa.
Brugmansia x insignis – Multi-stemmed shrub growing 12' tall by 8' wide.
'Jamaican Yellow' – Similar to above but with pale yellow blooms.
Brugmansia versicolor – Very floriferous shrub with extra-large flowers to 20" long.
'Peach' – Flowers open white then blush soft peach.
'Salmon' – As above but with brighter salmon coloring.
Brugmansia 'Butterfly Rose' – Heavy flushes of open, fragrant flowers in soft dawn pink.
Brugmansia 'Charles Grimaldi' – An easy cultivar, very floriferous, with golden yellow flowers. Reputedly the most cold hardy variety for overwintering in the ground.
Brugmansia 'Daybreak' – Blooms are a fadeproof, true lemon yellow.
Brugmansia 'Dr. Seuss' – Huge, golden peach blossoms.
Brugmansia ' Isabella' – Blush pink flowers with a powerful fragrance.
Brugmansia 'Miner's Claim' – An unusual cultivar with beautifully variegated foliage.
Brugmansia 'Sunray' – Blooms creamy white with yellow rays over lighter green foliage.
Datura meteloides syn. Datura inoxia – Annual easily grown from seed, to 3' tall and wide with fragrant white flowers, occasionally flushed pink.
Datura wrightii 'High Altitude Form' – A perennial form with profuse, large, flaring white flowers to 8" long, growing 2' tall by 4' wide.
Datura 'Ballerina' – Compact series growing to 1' in containers or 3' in the ground, flowering in white, yellow, or purple.
Datura 'Double Lavender' – Large, frilled, fragrant flowers in lilac on 3'-5' plants with glossy black/purple stems. Stunning!
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Genus: Brugmansia, Datura
Common Name: Both Brugmansia and Datura are commonly called angel trumpets.
Origin: Native to subtropical regions of South America, along the Andes from Colombia to northern Chile, and also in southern Brazil.
Height: Brugmansia range in height from 6-30;' Datura range up to 6' in height.
Culture: Brugmansia are easily grown in moist, fertile, well-drained soil, in full sun to part shade, in frost-free climates (They are considered annuals in our climate). In warm climates flowering begins in early to mid-spring and continues until early winter. In temperate climates outdoor plants need protection. Potted plants can be moved into a greenhouse.
Plants in the ground can be heavily pruned to induce dormancy, dug up, and overwintered in a cool, dark place.
Datura are easily grown in part to full sun, in moist, well-drained soil. Outdoors in good locations the plants tend to reseed readily and may become invasive.
Both genera need good drainage and plenty of water. Infrequent, deep watering is preferable to constant, shallow watering.
Propagation & Overwintering: Most species of Brugmansia are easily propagated from cuttings taken from the end of a branch in summer. Brugmansia can be overwintered indoors in cool a cool dark place such as a basement.
Datura are usually grown each year from seed or starts, though with care plants may be overwintered.
Maintenance: Both genera are thirsty plants that will require frequent fertilizer application to promote continuous bloom. During the main growing season they should be fed with a bloom-boosting, water soluble fertilizer according to the package directions. In the ground they will likely need weekly, deep watering. In pots the frequency will likely increase to several times per week, or whenever the top 2-4" of soil is dry. Plants may be pruned for shaping or to control size. Frequent deadheading will promote continued bloom.
Pest and Disease: Both genera are commonly bothered by whiteflies, spider mites, and aphids. Occasionally cabbage worms, cucumber beetles, slugs, snails, mealy bugs, and fungus gnats may become a problem. Treat with appropriate insecticides, slug bait, or repellent products. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal infections. Possible diseases include tobacco mosaic virus, tomato spotted wilt, fusarium wilt, verticillium wilt, Phytophthora, Phoma, and Botrytis.
Garden Uses: Almost all varieties are spectacular specimen plants ideally suited for the garden spotlight. Angel trumpets are awe inspiring as the centerpiece in containers. They can also be used to create dramatic backdrops in mixed borders that say, "WOW!" As they are most fragrant at night, and most have white or very light colored blooms, they are also ideally suited for moon gardens. Planted in tall pots or overhanging banks they form an intoxicating bower for evening garden parties or romantic dinners.