The Q&A Archives: Caring for Brugmansia

Question: I just purchased a Brugmansia versicolor shrub from my local nursery. Would you advise to keep growing the plant in a container or would it be possible to plant it in the ground? What other kind of care or soil does the plant like for it to grow into a tree like the ones in San Francisco's Botanical Gardens?

Answer: Brugmansia versicolor is a species from Ecuador with beautiful, large, pale, apricot colored flowers with a heavenly scent. These plants all can become trees in mild climates and will remain evergreen although they
tend to loose some leaves in the winter in those locations. However they will freeze back to their larger stems, or even to the ground, when temperatures fall much below 25?F. Therefore, for your area they will tend to be a perennial that returns from the roots each year. The plants prefer a rich, well drained soil.

If you grow the plant in a container of ample size, such as a half whiskey barrel, you can bring it in to a protected location for the few really cold winter nights you have each season. This would protect the main trunk and branches of the plant allowing it to gain size each season. This will pose quite a challenge however, as even on rollers, the plant could become difficult to handle.

Thanks for the question!

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