Angel’s Trumpet Growing Tips
This easy-to-grow exotic shrub toots a cool tune.
To me fall is always a bittersweet time in the garden. Sure, just the thought of cooler days leaves us anxious to start out fresh, planting flats of colorful pansies and fall vegetables. Yet at the same time, many summer annuals and heat-loving tropicals still look lush and are cranking out the blooms, so who wants to get rid of them?
Take angel’s trumpet, for example, often referred to as trumpet plant.
This tropical shrub blooms continuously from late spring until frost, so why part with it in September? Fortunately, angel’s trumpet is one of those plants that not only can be brought in and overwintered indoors but also is easily rooted for creating brand-new plants next year.
A member of the Brugmansia family, angel’s trumpet — whether treated as a summer annual or woody shrub — is a must for anyone who loves fragrance in the garden. This exotic plant produces pendulous, trumpet-shaped dangling blooms up to six inches long in yellow, peach, cream or white, which at night lure us for a sniff with their sultry lemony scent. The plant itself, with its sturdy branches and large strappy leaves, can grow up to 15 to 20 feet tall — especially when limbed up like a tree as many fans of angel’s trumpet prefer to do.
Like most blooming tropicals, angel’s trumpet prefers sun, but in the humid South it welcomes a little relief by afternoon with partial shade. It prefers rich well-drained soil and, if planted in a container, requires watering every day. Finally, with all that bloom potential, it’s a heavy feeder, so give it a blossom-boosting fertilizer every other week.
Before the first frost, pot up any angel’s trumpets not already in containers and move them indoors to a heated garage or basement until spring returns. Don’t be alarmed if the plant drops its leaves. But do be alarmed if children or pets attempt to eat the plant: all parts of it are poisonous.
And now here’s the best part: Any gardener on a budget will love how easily these plants can be rooted. Simply cut an eight- to 10-inch branch from the mother plant. Using a hammer, press the cut end until its fibers split and place the cutting indoors in a jar of water on a sunny windowsill. After a couple of weeks, tiny roots will emerge. Transfer the cutting to a container of potting soil and place it in indirect light. Water as needed throughout the winter. By springtime, the cutting should form a root ball suitable for transplanting outdoors.