Planting Angel


in the ground

Planting a brugmansia into the landscape is a beautiful thing! Allowing this lovely tree room to spread it's roots will then lend itself to a larger, thicker diameter trunk, with large branches, each node holding the promise of a flower filled calyx.

If you are thinking of planting your brugmansia out into the landscape, there are a few things to consider.

First, you will need to recognize which hardiness zone you are in. This will tell you whether you will have to dig the brugmansia up each fall and overwinter it, or if it can remain in the ground permanently.

I never suggest placing an Angel in the ground that is under the size of a 3 gallon pot!   If your Angel has not fully rooted up a 3 gallon pot, then it is potentially too small to withstand the shock of being placed in the ground. Graduate pot sizes up from 1 quart to 1 gallon, then 1 gallon to 3 gallon. When it fully roots a 3 gallon pot and you can see the roots peeking out the bottom, then it is safe to assume it can withstand the elements and be placed in ground.

Deliberate the amount of sun the angel trumpet will potentially receive. If living in the south, strong afternoon sun can be harrowing to brugmansia. Although brugmansia like a sunny space, too much of the heat and direct sun of our dogs days of summer can stress the tree out. It will survive, but you will need to step up the watering routine just to have it keep from wilting.

So, choose wisely the space that the brugmansia will occupy. A good potential space is one that is under larger, mature canopy trees that can shield it from this type of sunlight in the hottest part of the summer months. Planting the brugmansia facing south is fine, but that canopy tree can make all the difference. Think full morning sun, with some afternoon sun, perhaps in early afternoon, but then protection from the 2 oclock onwards sun with dappled sunlight.

You must also consider water. Brugmansia typically enjoy a slightly moist soil, so make sure it is going to be placed in an area that receives regular watering, such as by a sprinkler head that is on a timer. A good soaking 3 times a week, of at least 3 inches, is good for angel trumpets.

If you do live in frost hardiness zones 10 and 11, the brugmansia will not die back, and can therefore continue to grow unhampered. This allows the angel trumpet to potentially reach it's full height. A regular cultivar such as Santa Rosa or Pink Dragon can grow to heights of 20 feet or more.

Other cultivars like Daydreams or Dalai Lama will potentially stay smaller in size, reaching a mature height of 10 to 12 feet. Keep these things in mind when planting too, so you can avoid contact with other trees or shrubs in the landscape, and overhanging electrical lines.

Now let's get to the soil. This stuff matters! If you have a basically sandy soil, you will need to make amends. Clayey soils would also be a problem, without amendments. Brugmansia typically enjoy a rich, loamy, and airy soil that contains an abundance of micronutrients. Add these things when digging the original hole for the rootball. The pictured bag of BGI soil is perfect to start with. Available at Home Depot, this mix has lots of small pieces of bark that creates good organic breakdown for the roots to eat and creates air pockets so roots can breathe. If you can only get two amendments, choose some compost and the BGI mix.

As stated above, Do not overlook amending the soil your brugmansia is going to be sitting in. This is your one shot to get it right. For the biggest blooms, read the page on Getting brugmansia to bloom and the page DIY Soil Amendments. Not properly preparing a rich soil ahead of time will be a disaster. Your plant will not flourish, and all your hard work will be for naught. Amend the soil! I have a friend who uses goat manure on her brugs, and no fertilizers of any kind. The brugmansia are fantastic! These plants can eat a lot of amendments and ferts, so don't be shy. Add them now!

So let's get started. You have chosen the proper place, and now it is time to dig the hole. Make up your soil mix (or storebought mix) in advance and have enough made to fill half of the hole. You can bring over a wheelbarrow full of the soil mix before digging. Now dig a hole that is about 3 to 4 feet wide, and the same in depth. Pile half of the dug soil next to the hole, creating a bowl shape with it. Then take some of the premade soil mix out of the wheelbarrow and shovel it into the dug up soil. Mix them together well with the shovel, turning it over and over until you have a good mix of both. You want the finished soil to be half from the original landscape, and half from the soil mixture you made to amend it with.

Have the potted brugmansia ready and placed beside the hole. With your eye, measure the approximate depth that the rootball will potentially set at when placed in the hole in the ground. Shovel some of your newly made soil mixture back into the hole. With a garden hose, wet it thoroughly. Now throw in a couple of Fruit and Nut Tree Fertilizer spikes, onto each side of the hole.

Remove the brugmansia from the pot by laying it on it's side and using your fist to beat the sides of the planter, rotating it as you do this. This will loosen the roots inside the pot, and allow you to pull the plant up by the trunk and remove it.

Place the angel trumpet into the hole. If it is at the level you like, go ahead and fill the rest of the hole in with the soil mixture. It is okay if the trunk is not completely level with what it was in the pot. Brugmansia is one of those unusual plants that can have the trunk buried a bit, with no damage occuring. Water the soil filled hole again, until the soil is slightly compressed. You can step on the soil around the brugmansia to straighten it and make sure that the root ball is in complete contact with soil underground.

Now give it a couple large watering cans worth of premixed liquid fertilizer at the right dose.

For the next couple of weeks, check on the newly planted brugmansia daily, and make sure it receives enough water. If it wilts, give it a good drink with the garden hose. This will pass soon, as the plant will send out new roots to seek water and to stabilize it.

Give it a watering can of liquid fertilizer mixed in every week for about 6 weeks. This will help the newly planted angel trumpet to get going on the right track.

After it is established, you can cut down on the fertilizer slightly, but brugmansia are heavy feeders. I always fertilize mine, whether in ground or not, up to 3 times a week year round (Remember, I live where there is no frost) If you have to cover or mulch the base of yours for frost protection, stop fertilizing at the end of October.

Don't be shy about adding Palm and Citrus Time Release fertilizer granules 3 to 4 seasons a year, in addition to the Tomato fertilizer. Remember, good fertilizer means more flower flushes, which is why we grow brugmansia in the first place.

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This entry was posted on October 10th, 2012 and is filed under Information.