688 Brugmansia suaveolensCommon Names: angel trumpet, brugmansia, angel-star Family: Solanaceae (nightshade Family)
Brugmansia suaveolens is a semi-woody shrub or small tree that gets 6-15 ft (1.8-4.6 m) tall, usually with a many-branched single trunk. The leaves are generally oval in shape, up to 10 in (25.4 cm) long and 6 in (15.2 cm) wide, and even larger when grown in the shade. The overall plant has a coarse texture but the flowers are remarkably beautiful. They are sweetly fragrant, about 12 in (30.5 cm) long and shaped like trumpets. The corolla has five points that are slightly recurved. The flowers are usually white but may be yellow or pink and are pendulous, hanging almost straight down.
The cultivar, 'Plena' (which may or may not be this species) has double flowers: a trumpet within a trumpet. B. X insignis is a second generation hybrid created by back-crossing B. suaveolens with a B. suaveolens - B. versicolor hybrid. It has huge, sometimes six-pointed, bell-shaped flowers to 15 in (38.1 cm) long. These may be yellow, orange, white, pink or multi-colored and are more prone to hang straight down. This popular hybrid blooms year-round and often is offered incorrectly as B. suaveolens. There are several other presumed hybrids, including 'Dr. Seuss', 'Frosty Pink' and 'Charles Grimaldi' whose parentages may include B. suaveolens, but this is not certain.
This angel trumpet, Brugmansia suaveolens, occurs naturally in SE Brazil. It is widely grown as an ornamental everywhere it is hardy and has escaped cultivation and established in residential areas throughout much of South and Central America, Mexico, and even in parts of south-central Florida.
CultureLight: Brugmansia suaveolens does best in full sun. In partially shaded situations it may grow vigorously but flower sparingly or not at all. Moisture: Angel trumpet requires regular watering for best growth and flowering. It wilts terribly, but usually survives through droughts. Hardiness: USDA Zones 10 - 12. Brugmansia suaveolens is a small evergreen (although soft-wooded) tree. In zones 8B-9B, it dies to the ground in winter and resprouts in spring; under these conditions it rarely exceeds 8 ft (2.4 m) in height. Plants that are repeatedly killed to the ground winter after winter often weaken and die in a few years. Propagation: Brugmansias usually are propagated from seed. They also may be started from semi-ripe heeled cuttings taken in summer and rooted with bottom heat. A heeled cutting is one that includes a small piece of the older stem still attached to the tip cutting.
Brugmansia suaveolens can be pruned to a small tree with a single trunk, or allowed to grow in a clump with several erect and spreading stems. This is a very popular lawn specimen plant throughout the New World tropics and subtropics, and when in bloom it never fails to attract attention. Use it where you want to make a bold statement. Its large, coarse leaves and huge drooping flowers will be the center of attention. Use it in mixed shrub borders for contrast, or as an accent plant on the patio. As a specimen, position Brugmansia suaveolens in an open area where it can have center stage for maximum impact.
Angel trumpet is an exotic and tropical-looking shrub that makes a striking specimen in the landscape or a prized container plant on the patio.
The five species of Brugmansia formerly were included in the genus Datura, which now includes only the angel trumpets that are annuals or short-lived perennials; herbaceous as opposed to woody; and have erect rather than pendent flowers. Jimsonweed (D. stramonium) is a North American native and D. inoxia a popular ornamental from Mexico.
All parts of this and other angel trumpets are narcotic and poisonous. Some people have ingested or smoked angel trumpet for its narcotic effects, and some of those people are no longer with us. The use of angel trumpet as a landscape plant is banned in some municipalities.
Steve Christman 12/01/96; updated 5/20/00, 12/19/00, 7/19/09