AUBURN, Ala. – Named for its physical characteristics, Angel’s Trumpet is an attractive and easy to grow flowering plant.
Angel’s Trumpet, scientifically known as Brugmansia, is a genus of seven different species of flowering plants in the Solanaceae family. Other members of the Solanaceae family include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and tobacco. People commonly mistake them with the closely related genus, Datura,
Brugmansia is a woody plant with large, fragrant and pendulous flowers, that thrives in a warm or tropical climate. It is propagated from cuttings and in a frost-free area, mature plants reach up to 15 feet tall.
“Late summer into early fall is when you find the heaviest flowering for these plants,” said Kerry Smith, Alabama Extension’s Home Grounds team leader. “The plant’s trumpet-shaped blooms appear in white, yellow, orange and peach, depending on its variety.”
These flowers droop, giving them the trumpet shape. Angel’s trumpet can flower year-round in tropical climates and the flowers are especially fragrant in the evening.
Smith said that people should plant Angel’s Trumpet where is has room to grow.
“Angel’s Trumpet is a fast growing plant. Because it can reach up to 15 feet tall, plant it where it has room to grow,” Smith said. “It is often used as a container plant in cooler climates to make indoor movement easier for winter protection. If grown in a pot, make sure there is a large hole in the bottom so the soil drains properly.”
Brugmansia will wilt and not grow well if it doesn’t get enough water or has too much sun. Pick a spot that has morning sun and afternoon shade. It also needs fertilizer several times per month from May-August. This supports continuous blooms. Adequate moisture is crucial, but too much water may cause root rot. Make sure container grown plants have good drainage.
While they are similar, there are several characteristics that set Brugmansia and Datura apart. Smith said that while Brugmansia is propagated by cuttings, this is not necessary for Datura.
“The Datura produce big seed pods, and because they sprout easily, cuttings are not necessary,” Smith said.
Daturas are annual herbaceous bushes that often have spines on their fruit. Unlike the Brugmansia, the flowers of Brugmansia are upright. Datura usually prefers a drier area and they do not need a lot of fertilizer.
Toxic to Humans and Animals
While beautiful, these plants are highly poisonous. The leaves, flowers, roots and seeds contain high levels of toxins that can be fatal if ingested by humans or many animals. Scopolamine, atropine and hyoscyamine are the toxic alkaloids found in the plants. It is important to exercise caution when doing routine work, such as pruning, fertilizing and watering these plants. Some people are more sensitive than others to skin contact with these plants. To avoid contamination, wear protective gloves and long sleeves when raking nearby. Discard all plant debris and do not compost it. Be sure that these plants are kept away from children and animals to prevent accidentally ingest of this toxic plant.
For more information, visit Alabama Extension online, or contact your county Extension office.
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