Thanks to the tropical look of their oversize leaves and huge, exotic blossoms, brugmansias are wildly popular. Related to jimsonweeds, these South American natives are often confused with plants in the genus Daturabut brugmansias are large, woody shrubs with typically pendent flowers and bean-shaped seedpods; daturas are lower growing and herbaceous, with upward-pointing flowers and swollen, spiny seedpods. Most brugmansias bloom in summer and autumn. For Datura, see page 276.
B. 'Angel's Blushing Beauty'. Strong-growing, upright plant with 9-in.-long, soft-pink flowers with fluted edges. Heavy bloomer.
B. 'Angel's Summer Dream.' Dwarf plant, to about 3 ft. tall, with strong lateral branching pattern. Starts blooming at just 12 ft. tall, with orange-yellow, sweetly scented flowers to 6 in. long. Blooms over a long period. Excellent for containers and hanging baskets.
B. x candida. Fast growing to 1012 ft. tall and wide; dull green leaves to 1 ft. long. Sweet-scented, 8- to 12-in.-long, cream to white trumpets hang straight down from the branches. 'Double White' has creamy white double blossoms, distinctly grayish green foliage. 'Grand Marnier' has large, peachy pink flowers with an especially sweet perfume.
B. 'Cherub'. Seedling from B. x versicolor 'Ecuador Pink'. To 57 ft. tall, with thick, glossy, deep green leaves and a profusion of salmon-pink flowers over a long period.
B. x cubensis 'Charles Grimaldi'. Fast growing to 1012 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide. Huge (15-in.), golden yellow to golden orange, powerfully fragrant trumpets cover the plant during the bloom season.
B. 'Cypress Gardens'. Grows 510 ft. tall and not quite as wide. Blooms heavily even when small, producing 6- to 8-in. white blossoms that age to light pink; they hang straight down from the branches and are fragrant at night and in the morning. Excellent in containers, where it stays 36 ft. tall.
B. x insignis. To 1012 ft. tall and wide. Flowers are large, flaring trumpets that are held at an angle rather than pointing straight down; they have a spicy-sweet fragrance and come in white, pink, yellow, and orange. Size ranges from 8 to 14 in. long, depending on selection. 'Frosty Pink' has salmon pink blooms; 'Jamaica Yellow' has light yellow flowers. 'Jean Pasco' has golden yellow flowers with a lighter yellow throat and a red-orange tinge at the edges. 'Betty Marshall' bears white blossoms on a compact plant 68 ft. high.
B. 'Peaches and Cream'. To 5 ft. tall and wide. Flowers over a long spring-into-fall season, producing richly perfumed, light peachy pink blossoms to 8 in. long that open from buds striped in white and green. Blooms profusely, even in small containers. Leaves are dark green, splashed with light green and edged in white and pale yellow.
B. suaveolens. Plants offered as this species are usually B. x insignis.
B. 'Sunset' (B. x candida 'Variegata'). Grows 5 ft. tall and wide, with foot-long, light golden peach blossoms; its green leaves are attractively edged in white. 'Snowbank' is similar, but leaves are even more heavily variegated with cream and gray-green blotches.
B. versicolor. The most treelike species, to 15 ft. tall and wide. Huge (15-in.) flowers are a peachy apricot color; they hang straight down from the branches, covering the plant during bloom time. Blossoms are sweetly fragrant at night and in the morning. Pink- and white-flowered selections are also sold. 'Ecuador Pink' has especially fragrant pink trumpets up to 112 ft. long, with distinctively curled edges; it blooms over a long season, from spring to fall.
Brugmansias prefer moist, fertile, well-drained soil that contains plenty of organic matter. Boggy soil results in gradual dieback and eventual death. A site providing morning sun and light afternoon shade is ideal. During active growth in spring and summer, water freely and feed every 2 weeks with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer. In fall and winter, reduce watering and cease feeding. Prune only after flowering.
Brugmansias are winter hardy in the Coastal and Tropical South (USDA 9-11). In the Lower South (USDA 8), heavy mulching in late fall is necessary. In the Upper and Middle South (USDA 6-7), treat them as annuals or grow them in containers that you take indoors for winter. Potted plants can spend winters indoors with low light and little water.