The Dramatic Angel Trumpet

There are few more dramatic flowers in Texas than the angel’s trumpet, which is blooming Summer to Fall. I have 4 varieties, pink, yellow, white and tropical sunset, the pink however is by far the most vigorous grower.

The Latin name is Brugmansia, and the flowers can be nine to 12 inches long. A really mature shrub can sport 200 such dangling trumpets at the same time.

The flower is very fragrant, but unlike the tree-born bloom, you probably should not mix these gigantic flowers into your scrambled eggs. All parts of the plant are poisonous.

Nevertheless, these are popular garden specimens in Texas because of their enormous flowers. Plus they also can endure sun and shade. They usually are found as shrubs, but a mature plant can be 20 feet tall.

Some debate exists on where the plants originated. Some say Chile or Peru. But some Brazilian Indians have worked the plant into their culture. They smoke the leaves for a narcotic high and possible relief of some respiratory illnesses. This is not recommended for mere mortals nor should gardeners fail to wash up after casual contact.

There are three basic types of propagation in use by the hobbiest. They are seed, cuttings and air layering. Several other methods,such as tissue culture, are in use commercially but these are beyond the scope of the home gardener.

Brug seed are enclosed in a corky covering. Inside the cork is a small "bean". This is the true seed. The covering may be removed or it may be left on. The only difference is that the peeled seed may sprout a bit sooner. Many of the flowers from seed will be white as this is the dominant color in many species. But, that said, we do also get all of our colorful new hybrids from seed.
Use fine potting soil or you may use a mixture of sand and peat as a starting mix. Plant the seed about one half inch deep and firm the soil over it. Water well and then do not water again until the soil becomes dry. Too much water for too long a time will rot the seed. Expect germination in from two weeks to six months. Fresh seed do germinate faster. When the seedling has grown its second set of leaves move it to a larger pot. Generally speaking, the larger the pot the faster the seedling will grow. Do remember to keep the soil warm in colder weather. Expect blooms when the seedling has reached three to five feet and formed a "Y" on the main stalk.

Plants grown from cuttings are exact clones of the parent plant. For instance, if you have a Dr.Seuss it has been produced from a cutting of a cutting of a cutting etc. of the original plant and is a part of that plant. It will not cross and produce seed with another Dr.Seuss. Select cuttings from older wood.The cutting should be about six inches long and one half inch in diameter or larger. The cuttings may be started in water or in good potting soil. If you start in water,change the water daily and move the cutting to soil as soon as the roots begin to form. If starting in soil place the cutting about two inches into the potting medium, firm the soil and water thoroughly. After this water only sparingly until the plant is well started. Too much water will cause the cutting to rot. Most cutting failures are due to too much water instead of not enough.

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