Angel’s trumpet: varieties, plant care & propagation

Hannah
Hannah
Hannah
Hannah

I am particularly interested in garden wildlife which is why I did my Master's degree with a focus on "animal ecology". I am convinced that beneficial insects and wildlife are a sustainable and effective alternative to many of the products we use on our plants. I am also a passionate birdwatcher and rarely go for a walk without my binoculars.

Favourite fruit: kiwi, apple and redcurrant
Favourite vegetables: tomatoes and green beans

What is the best location for angel’s trumpet? Is angel’s trumpet hardy? We reveal everything about planting and caring for angel’s trumpet.

Light pink angel's trumpet flowers
Angel’s trumpet beautify any garden [Photo: MaCross-Photography/ Shutterstock.com]

The affectionate name of this genus of plants alone suggests how much admiration is given to it: Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia) are extremely popular ornamental plants. They are also highly sought after in collector and breeder circles. When grown as a shrub or standard tree, angel’s trumpet makes an excellent container plant and will beautify any home. Angel’s trumpet not only enchant us with their splendid flowers, but also exude a bewitching fragrance. However, this is only noticeable in the late evening and at night. For more exciting facts and tips on caring for angel’s trumpet, check out our detailed plant portrait.

Angel’s trumpet: flowering period, origin and characteristics

The beautiful angel’s trumpet plants are not native to our country. They originate from South America, where they thrive outdoors at a wide range of altitudes. Angel’s trumpet was introduced as an ornamental plant to Europe, where it is kept mainly as a pot plant due to the climatic conditions. In the Mediterranean region, some cultivars can survive outdoors. The tree- or shrub-like plants grow between two and five metres high and usually form hanging, cup-shaped flowers. The flowering period, fragrance and flower colour vary greatly depending on the variety.

Yellow flowered angel's trumpet tree
Angel’s trumpet grows as a small tree or compact shrub [Photo: Galina Savina/ Shutterstock.com]

Angel’s trumpet species: colourful varieties for the garden

The genus Brugmansia includes numerous wild species and cultivated varieties. Not infrequently, there are also hybrid forms bred from different species. Each variety has different characteristics and is therefore suitable for different types of husbandry. Below we present a colourful selection of angel’s trumpet.

White varieties

Among the classic white angel’s trumpet is Brugmansia arborea. This wild species is originally from the Colombian Andes and is therefore a really hardy species of angel’s trumpet. The plant has rather small flowers, about 15 cm long, which bloom less profusely, but quite early in the year. In addition, this trumpet plant exudes a beguiling floral fragrance.

Cream flowers of the angel's trumpet
Brugmansia arborea blooms are creamy white to pure white [Photo: Viktorialvantes/ Shutterstock.com]

Another white angel’s trumpet is the hybrid Brugmansia x candida crossed from the species Brugmansia versicolour and Brugmansia aurea. The “White Angel’s Trumpet” is a very strong flowering and robust variety that can withstand bad weather conditions to some extent. This hybrid is therefore a very popular trumpet plant that is also well suited for beginners.

Red angel’s trumpet

Brugmansia sanguinea is originally from Colombia and Chile. This species has very little fragrance but delights us with its elongated, red flowers, which also give it the name of red angel’s trumpet. A distinctive feature of this variety is also its flowering time: unlike other species, Brugmansia sanguinea blooms rather late in the year and delights us over the winter with its splendour of colour. However, this trumpet plant is less suitable for beginners as it is quite susceptible to diseases and does not like waterlogging.

Red angel's trumpet flower
The red angel’s trumpet is a real blaze of colour [Photo: lunamarina/ Shutterstock.com]

Purple angel’s trumpet

The hybrid Brugmansia x flava does not give off such a beguiling fragrance as its sisters. Instead, the variety charms us with long, tubular, dark purple to red flowers that shine mainly in spring and autumn. However, since the hybrid is very susceptible to disease and improper care, it, too, is more suitable for more experienced amateur gardeners.

Golden angel’s trumpet

Brugmansia aurea is also called the golden angel’s trumpet because of its mostly yellow, rarely white flowers. Originally from Ecuador, the species grows up to 6 m tall, bears large, bright flowers and exudes a pleasant fragrance but unfortunately, Brugmansia aurea is readily attacked by pests in our country.

Yellow flowers of the golden angel's trumpet
Brugmansia aurea is also called the golden angel’s trumpet [Photo: Holly Guerrio/ Shutterstock.com]

Brugmansia suaveolens shines in delicate or more intense shades of yellow. In this species, the colour is not always clear and can vary from white to yellow to pink. On the other hand, it is very undemanding and well suited for beginners. In addition, the plant emits a very intense scent and is therefore also called the fragrant angel’s trumpet.

Flowers of the snowy angel trumpet
The flower colour of Brugmansia suaveolens is quite variable [Photo: RZ_Videos/ Shutterstock.com]

Planting angel’s trumpet: location, soil and more

Angel’s trumpet is undemanding when it comes to choosing a location and soil. Basically, any kind of potting soil can be used. However, trumpet plants require a lot of water in the summer, especially on hot days, so a soil with good water retention and a low number of clippings is a good choice. Many opt for a peaty soil for this purpose. However, think twice about this step, because peat has many questionable and environmentally harmful properties: Mining the raw material releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and destroys valuable ecosystems. Therefore, water a little more frequently on hot days and use a peat-free soil – such as our Plantura Organic Flower Compost, which is not only 100% peat-free, but also particularly sustainable and with up to 60% less CO2 compared to conventional soils.

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Although many cultivars tolerate direct sun well, angel’s trumpet do best in partial shade, where the loss of water on hot days can also be slightly curbed. Ideally, the plant should also be protected from excessively harsh weather, as heavy rain and hail can quickly damage the sensitive leaves.

Potted angel's trumpet in front of a house
When somewhat protected by a roof or against the wall of a house, Brugmansia feels particularly at home [Photo: imageBROKER.com/ Shutterstock.com]

Plant care: our tips for Brugmansia

As already mentioned, Brugmansia requires a lot of water in summer. Therefore, water regularly, but avoid waterlogging. Exactly how much water your plant needs will become apparent very quickly, because in the absence of water trumpet plants quickly droop their leaves. This is not a major problem but a clear request for you to water more in the future.

Pruning angel’s trumpet

Since trumpet plants can grow several feet tall, regular pruning of the plants is recommended. It is best to radically cut back your angel’s trumpet in late spring before overwintering. The desired size of the plant should be determined very early, as only the new, still green branches should be cut. The older, woody areas, on the other hand, should be avoided, otherwise growth will be radically stunted at this point. For safety, it is wise to wear gloves when pruning these toxic plants.

Fertilising

All Brugmansia varieties need a lot of nutrients and therefore want to be fertilised regularly. Fertilisation should be started at the beginning of the growing season in March or April. A normal plant fertiliser can be used throughout the summer, or a special growth fertiliser can be added at the beginning. For a strong growth habit and splendid flowers, fertilise generously – over-fertilising is almost impossible. Since angel’s trumpet prefer to be fertilised throughout the entire growth and flowering phase, a fertiliser with a long-term effect is also suitable – such as our Plantura Flower Food. This fertiliser not only guarantees a 3-month long-term supply, but is also sustainable and free of animal ingredients.

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Propagating angel’s trumpet

Angel’s trumpet can be propagated both by seed and by cuttings. However, the cutting method is the easiest and therefore more suitable for the beginner. Below, we tell you how to successfully propagate your favourite trumpet plans.

Sowing angel’s trumpet seeds

If you want to propagate your trumpet plant by seed, you can collect them from the flowers and dry them over the winter. In this case, however, be careful with hybrid varieties: you never know what characteristics the new plants will develop. The seeds are also easy to find in specialist shops, however. For sowing, the seeds must first be soaked in water for 24 hours and can then be transferred to growing soil. After that, always keep the soil warm and moist. You can also cover the containers with glass or transparent film, but be sure to air them regularly to prevent mould. The germination period can vary from a few weeks to two months, depending on the variety and the season.

Propagation by cuttings

Propagation of angel’s trumpet via cuttings is possible throughout the summer. To do this, simply cut pieces of about 10 cm from the crown of the tree, remove the lowest leaves and immerse the stems about 4 cm deep in potting soil. Keep the cuttings in partial shade at about 20 °C and moisten the soil without creating waterlogging. After three to four weeks, enough roots should have formed so that the cuttings can be repotted. However, it is also possible to use the cuttings in late spring and overwinter them together with the mother plant. In this way, enough roots should have formed by spring.

Overwintering

Angel’s trumpet are not hardy. This is also the reason why the beautiful ornamental plants are kept mainly in tubs. Angel’s trumpet can also be planted directly in the garden, but this makes the overwintering process a little more complicated. As a container plant, the trumpet plant can easily be moved to a suitable winter home, such as a garage or basement. Make sure the minimum temperature is about 10 °C. Also, water your angel’s trumpet in winter only about once a week and avoid too much moisture. In order to prevent fungal infestation, adequate ventilation should also be provided.

Light pink angel's trumpet in a pot
Wear gloves when pruning Brugmansia [Photo: ditya lotosa/ Shutterstock.com]

Are angel’s trumpets poisonous?

Angel’s trumpet belongs to the nightshade family and, like many other plants in this group, contains toxic alkaloids. This problem applies to all parts of the plant, so when pruning the plant, you should wear gloves and avoid it from coming into contact with food. The plant should also not be eaten.
In some cultures, Brugmansia are also used as intoxicants, as they are said to induce hallucinations and an ecstatic state. However, since the wrong dosage can also lead to symptoms of poisoning, it is also not recommended.

Common diseases and pests

Especially the more sensitive varieties of angel’s trumpet are susceptible to viral or fungal diseases. The latter can be avoided by proper care and sufficient ventilation where they are kept. But also, predators, such as caterpillars, aphids or slugs like to attack angel’s trumpet. Grasshoppers leave behind particularly large feeding damage and should therefore be removed immediately.

In our dedicated articles, you will learn how to fight aphids naturally and get rid of slugs.

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