Saturday, April 28, 2012

What's blooming: brugmansia

From the very first moment I laid eyes on Brugmansia (Angel's Trumpet), I was hooked. The large, trumpet shaped flowers gracefully draped down from a heavily leafed tree in the San Antonio Botanical Garden and the fragrance and beauty captured my imagination.

Image via B and T World Seedest.

This tropical, South American native has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties, but the indigenous cultures also used it as a ritualistic hallucinogen for divination. Hey, that's a bit crazy since it's toxic to humans. I'll leave it to the butterflies and hummingbirds who find it to their liking.

Image via Mary Ahern Artist.

I was so impressed with the beauty of the brugmansia, and the success others had, I decided to plant one in the ground several years ago. Despite my best efforts, it died. Ever since then, I've tried to discover where I went wrong.

Image via Mary Ahern Artist.

From everything I have read, it seems brugmansia are easily grown in a moist, fertile, well-drained soil, in sun to part shade in frost-free climates. What the planting guides don't know is the intensity of even partial sun in South Texas. So, this year I have started anew.

Photo of young brugmansia by Alamodeus.

I'm now growing two brugmansia in light shade with reflected, rather than direct sunlight. I have them both in pots instead of planted in the ground. Even though they are only tall enough to peek their leaves above the pot's rim, they are so very happy and are both flowering. Alleluia!

Image via Logees.

If I can get them to medium shrub or small tree size, I'll be one happy brugmaniac!

Image via Mounts Botanical Garden, West Palm Beach, Florida.

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