Taking Care of Your Brugmansia (Angels Trumpet)

Feeding and Watering

Congratulations!  You have purchased one of the most dramatically beautiful and intoxicatingly fragrant container plants for your patio.  It is absolutely gorgeous in full bloom, but keep in mind, as with many of our beautiful plants, all parts are toxic if eaten.  Keep it away from small children.

Your plant prefers the east side of your house to full sun in a western exposure.   It also tolerates part shade, but does not bloom well in deep shade.

Your brugmansia is a voracious feeder.  Current recommendations from the American Brugmansia and Datura Society say to feed it twice a week.  It needs plenty of water in the summer heat and as a consequence, the fertilizer is leached out very quickly.  If you cannot do it twice a week, many people find that once a week is adequate.  Use an all purpose water soluble fertilizer with an NPK  ratio of 20-20-20 and then keep alternating it with a fertilizer formulated specifically for blooming plants with a high middle number ( high in phosphorus). Some people use a slow release fertilizer when they pot up the plant, but this alone is not sufficient because it breaks down too slowly.

Most plants need to be about 3 feet tall to bloom.  This will usually happen in late summer and early fall.  A consistent fertilizer regimen will help your plant get to the blooming stage more rapidly.


It is not advisable to bring your plant into your living quarters for the winter, unless you have a cool, isolated place where they can go dormant.  Brugmansias can harbor aphids and whitefly.   It is better to overwinter them in an unheated cellar or in a garage where they can go dormant. Dark spaces or spaces with natural light both work.  During this dormant period the plants will still need watering about once a month. Check them regularly to see if they need water.  Basically during this time, the plants will drop all of their leaves and play dead.  Most cultivars do well in environments with temperature ranges of approximately 40-50  F.  Two brugmansia species, B. insignis and B. versicolor like it a few degrees warmer.  When it is very cold, you may want to use a heat lamp to keep temperatures in this range, but for added safety, be sure to buy one that a porcelain socket. 

In spring when all danger of frost has passed, trim off the dead branches, water and set your brugmansia outside.  If you want it to starting leafing out and growing early, then start bringing it out when the weather is good in April, but locate it somewhere where it can be scooted back into its winter quarters if night temperatures lower than 36 F are anticipated.  For additional information, you may go the American Brugmansia and Datura website at www.abads.net.

Paula Szilard, Tropical Plant Society