Flowering time (month)
Ornamental or utility value
nectar or pollen plant
weakly alkaline to weakly acidic
The angel trumpet (Brugmansia) is originally a tropical South American. Due to its great popularity, however, it can now be found all over the world as potted plants. The angel trumpet belongs to the Solanaceae family and is therefore poisonous. In some indigenous peoples, parts of the plants are used as intoxicants and remedies. The earlier botanical classification of the angel trumpet in the family of datura has now been abolished. Mistakenly the Brugmansia is often called “trumpet tree”. This leads to confusion with the hardy real trumpet tree (Catalpa bignonioides), with which the angel trumpet is not botanically related.
The plants grow as shrubs or small trees. They grow up to four metres high and form funnel-shaped, often slightly overhanging crowns. The branches and twigs have a light grey bark. They are relatively thick and little branched. The angel trumpets bear their German name because of their large abundance of trumpet-shaped flowers, some of which hang almost vertically from the branches.
Depending on the variety, the leaves of the angel trumpet are egg-shaped or elliptically shaped and feel soft. They are up to 25 centimeters long and sit on two to eight centimeter long stems. In the flowering region of the plant, the leaves are asymmetrical at the base, while in the growing region they are larger and symmetrical.
The magnificent hanging calyxes of the angel trumpet are not to be overlooked. They grow up to 30 centimeters, appear from June and remain until autumn. Angel trumpets are available in pink, white, orange and yellow, single or double flowering, depending on the variety. The calyxes are tubular with tips often artfully bent back. They usually open in the afternoon or evening. With the exception of the wild form Brugmansia sanguinea, all varieties exude a beguiling to austere scent, especially in the evening hours.
The angel trumpet carries berries between six and thirty centimeters in size, egg-shaped or spindle-shaped. They contain several hundred large, cork-like seeds. However, not all varieties produce fruit.
Location and substrate
Angel trumpets thrive best at a wind-protected, sunny place without full midday sun. Permanent semi-shade reduces the need for water, but also the abundance of flowers. The pieces of jewellery are planted in high-quality pot plant soil, which is mixed with ten percent expanded clay. Treat your angel trumpet to a large plant pot. Since the large-flowered potted plants are extremely thirsty, they need a lot of storage space for water. The disadvantage of a very large pot is the immense weight. This makes it difficult to transport the plant to its winter quarters in autumn. The root ball should therefore be kept as compact as possible so that a larger vessel is not required every year. So that your angel trumpet has enough space in the pot, it must be repotted regularly.
Sturdy plastic pots, for example mortar pots, are better suited for angel trumpets than clay or terracotta pots. They have a lower weight, do not evaporate so much water and the roots do not grow together with the pot wall. A coaster offers an additional water reservoir on hot days. Angel trumpets can also be planted out into the bed during the summer. In autumn, before moving into winter quarters, the roots have to be cut off. Cutting the roots is not a problem for the plants. Large angel trumpets should be supported with sturdy rods. If you have these on the balcony, it is advisable to attach them to the railing. Attention: The angel trumpet is poisonous in all parts. Wear gloves for safety when working with the plant and then clean the implement.
In general, angel trumpets need a lot of water during the summer months. On hot days the water consumption is even higher. Always water the plants until water runs out of the pot at the bottom, preferably twice a day in hot summers. Make sure, however, that excess water can drain off well and that no waterlogging occurs. It is best to cast with tap water, as the angel trumpet needs lime. Since angel trumpets are also strong eaters, the potted plants should be supplied with a special liquid fertilizer for angel trumpets or a high-quality potted plant fertilizer twice a week from March to August. In addition, a portion of slow-release fertilizer can be administered at the beginning of the season. Fertilizing will cease at the end of August.
Before moving into winter quarters, angel trumpets are usually cut back. This is not absolutely necessary, but usually a question of space. The less the Brugmansia is cut, the more luxuriant the flower will usually be. If the shoots need to be shortened, trim them only in the area where the branches fork in a y-shape. The flowering region of the angel trumpet differs from the growth region by a different leaf shape – the leaves here are smaller and asymmetrical. If you cut the shoots even further down, flowering will be delayed in the following year. Cut your angel trumpet while it is still reasonably warm and leave it on the warm terrace for a few days so that the cut surfaces heal well and the plant does not bleed. If thin branches with light green leaves sprout prematurely in winter quarters, they are pruned to one or two leaves before being cleared out in spring.
Angel trumpets are extremely sensitive to frost and cannot be overwintered outside in our latitudes even with good winter protection. Therefore, clear the plants before the first night frosts. The best place to spend the winter is a slightly heated winter garden with a temperature of 12 to 18 degrees, which is ventilated on warm days. At such a bright wintering place it is possible that the angel trumpet will continue to bloom for a while. Caution: Indoors, the scent of flowers can become very intense! If you don’t have a bright room at your disposal, the angel trumpet can also spend the winter in the dark. Then, however, the temperature should be as constant as possible at five to a maximum of ten degrees. In dark quarters the plant sheds its leaves. In the winter quarters only so much water is poured that the bale does not dry out. This promotes the maturation of the remaining young shoots and prevents them from sprouting too early. From March the angel trumpet can be repotted. After the last frost in April/May the angel trumpets are finally brought out again. If the plant has been wintered in the dark, it should only be placed in a semi-shade place for a few days in the spring, otherwise it will easily get a sunburn.
Angel trumpets are most easily multiplied by head cuttings. You can do this all year round and the growth rates are very high. To do this, cut off a branch tip about 15 centimeters long from the flowering region under a leaf base. Then remove the lower leaves, halve the remaining ones and put the cuttings about four centimeters deep into the growing soil. Place the cuttings warmly and brightly at about 20 degrees and keep the soil continuously moist. After about 14 days roots form and can also be propagated by sowing. For this purpose, the seeds are put into the growing soil in spring and a foil bag or a glass is put over it. Anyone who multiplies angel trumpets with seeds he has collected himself will often get plants that differ in flower colour from the mother plant, as the genetic material in the seeds is recombined.
The white angel trumpet (Brugmansia x candida) is a hybrid form and is one of the most flowering angel trumpets, which tolerates bad weather conditions in the summer months. In addition to white flowers, there are also varieties in yellow to apricot and pink such as ‘Angels Innovation’. Also the variety ‘Silver Wings’ blooms in pure white. The angel trumpet ‘Angels Exotic’ decorates the summer terrace with salmon-coloured fragrant flowers. The variety ‘Pink Ice’ (Brugmansia x flava) is a great pleasure early in the year with its beautiful pink flowers. It remains rather small with a growth height of about 120 centimeters and can even be cultivated in hanging baskets. The angel trumpet ‘Royal Pink’ impresses not only with its huge pink floral trumpets and tropical lush growth, but also with its beguiling scent. A rarity among the angel trumpets is the orange variety ‘Salmon Perfection’ with filled flowers that smell wonderful in the evening hours.
Diseases and pests
If the plant hangs the leaves, the reason is often a lack of water. The first infestation with aphids threatens at the beginning of May. As a result, dark sooty mildew fungi appear. Bight-like damage to the food indicates fat-mouth weevils. Snails also like to feast on the soft leaves of the angel trumpet at night. Silvery-speckled leaves occur especially in summer and indicate spider mites. Soft-skin mites attack the heart leaves of the angel’s trumpet. One recognizes an infestation by a growth stop and the glassy discoloration of the leaves. If a mite infestation occurs, the plant must be radically cut back and in extreme cases sprayed with a pesticide (e.g. Hortex neu). Biological Neem products can be used against leaf bugs that drill small holes in the leaves. Sometimes mosaic-like discoloured, curly leaves appear. This indicates a virus infestation, which cannot be cured, but which usually does not seriously damage the plant.
Problems with spider mites? The herbalist advises this
Whether fruit, vegetable and ornamental plants in the garden or indoor plants in the house: spider mites can infest and damage many different plants. Here René Wadas, a herbalist, will tell you his tips on how you can effectively fight the arachnids.Credits: Production: Folkert Siemens; Camera: Fabian Primsch; Editing: Dennis Fuhro, Photos: Flora Press/FLPA, GWI
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