If you are looking for a truly spectacular plant then Brugmansia – the Angel’s Trumpets may be the answer. Its huge trumpet shaped flowers are the main feature of this plant which can be grown in a container, but also develops into a large shrub. Recently Margaret Roach interviewed Byron Martin of Logee?s Greenhouses about the new developments in Brugmansias. Here is part of the interview which I found on Margaret’s A Way To Garden website.
Q. Shall we start with Brugmansia?the angel?s trumpets? I have to confess I haven?t grown one in a long time, but it looks like there are some interesting colors and other developments in the catalog.
A. Brugmansias have been around for a long time, and in recent years there has been a bit more hybridization done with them, which has brought out some of the better qualities of them. That would be increasing flower production in the summertime, which has always been an issue, and also some change in the growth habit.
Typically if you go to species or some of the primary crosses of those species that come out of the Andes Mountains, they grow to be pretty good-sized plants. They can get up to 20 feet or more.
They don?t really form what we think of as a tree, but more of a big mound of vegetation and growth.
The older hybrids tend to flower?at least for us?several times a year, particularly going into late summer. In the greenhouses they would flower for longer periods, but outside, it would be a couple of cycles of bloom, and then winter would come?the freezes would come and the growing season would end.
In recent years, there has been some hybridization. We did one here, called which is an orange but tends to grow very low, and to produces flowers pretty much continuously.
The interesting thing about Brugmansia is that when they start out as a young cutting or a seedling, they go up, and at some point they begin to fork?they divide into two leads. At that point is where flower production usually starts.? If you ever get a plant, or take a cutting of a plant, no matter what you do it?s going to send out a central leader, and at some point it?s going to stop, and fork?and usually as I said that?s the beginning of flower production.
So when we did this breeding we were looking for plants that did that forking from seedlings very, very young. That selection that we did off of ?Angel?s Summer Dream?? came out of that, yet once it starts to create that flowering lead, that lead will just continue producing buds.
The idea is to select for plants that will quickly do that?and will continue to throw flowers out. Some flower better than others. We have an older hybrid, it?s a candida double that?s in the greenhouses, and it is never out of flower in our greenhouses. It flowers in the winter, too. But?if you take a cutting of it and put it in a pot it takes forever to get going. Once it does get going, it becomes very floriferous and productive, however it?s not really productive for a summer garden because you may see some flowers in August.
Q. That was the thing with my old Brugmansia, many years ago. I don?t even know if it was a named one. It got bigger and bigger and bigger, and it was like waiting all summer long for the moment when it would finally flower. It was fabulous, but you?re talking about something that can give us the enjoyment of flowers over a longer period of time, once the plant is of flowering age.
A. Right, so you need to get the plants to start younger, and to go into that continuous flower production. So ?Angel?s Summer Dream? was somewhat of a breakthrough and came off of ?Inca Sun,? which was one of the parents, and was also a good bloomer. We use it for baskets, because for a cutting it only goes up 6 inches of so and then it will throw off these flowering leaves.
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