Brugmansias forum: Will brugs survive in zone 6b with heavy mulching?

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Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
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bluegrassmom
Nov 3, 2013 6:44 AM CST
I have raised brugs before but always brought them in over the winter. My son thought he was living in a jungle so then I tried storing them under the house. I currently do not have any but I really miss them. They are so beautiful when in full bloom.

Has anyone had success with leaving them cut back outside and mulched in my zone? I live in the southern part of KY near the TN border.
Name: JT Sessions
Milton,Fl.
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gone2seed
Nov 3, 2013 6:56 AM CST

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You are right on the borderline.If it were me,I would try the mulch but also take some cuttings from above the "Y" as backup.
That type of cutting will bloom next year and will be easy to keep inside over winter.Oh,and be sure to kiss the mother plant goodby just in case. Hilarious!
Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
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bluegrassmom
Nov 4, 2013 1:39 AM CST
Hi, I was reading the article about pushing your zone. I wonder if I cut the plant back hard, pile up mulch around the trunk, add a large bucket or other container if that would help. I may try that. I have heard of wrapping the trunks too.
Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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stone
Nov 4, 2013 6:17 AM CST
I've found that adding a bucket... to tomato plants got them frosted...
I like the piled up mulch idea, and you might want to try planting next year's plants against a south facing wall...
Manure is great stuff... try adding a pile of fresh poop over the stems after frost.

I grew brugs outside in eastern TN, near Pigeon Forge, and didn't have any problems... the year or two that I was there...

You might want to try keeping some of your cuttings in a box of sand. I've found that using sand is far simpler than rooting in water.

While there isn't leaf growth until Spring... I avoided all the rot and constant water changes, white flies, aphids and other problems associated with rooting in water...
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 4, 2013 12:47 PM CST
Survive? Maybe. Thrive? nuh, uh! Teresa, my brugs bloom once a month from about March through October here and keep going year 'round if the weather stays warm. They are blooming machines once you get them started. (and keep them fed and watered) Warmth and sun are what they need to get started, and then they'll make it totally worthwhile to pamper those tropical divas in your zone. If you make the plant struggle to get going, will it be worth your while? A couple of winters ago we had cold weather that caused my brugs to stop blooming. It took a couple of months to get them blooming again.

I'd say you will be way more likely get good bloom next summer from a plant that overwintered indoors, and kept on growing. Even if you cut it back to bring in a more reasonable sized plant, it will jump ahead and get around to blooming much sooner once the weather warms up than if it has to come back from the ground up, in cold ground.

The idea of planting against a sunny south facing wall is absolutely great, and will extend your brug blooming season into the fall somewhat, too. The ground will warm up there sooner in spring, and the wall will retain heat when the nights start to cool off. Warmth is key with brugs. Plus water and feeding while they're growing of course.

I do root cuttings in water, but pot them up in potting soil as soon as the roots are an inch or so long. Usually only takes a week or two in warm weather. They do great.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
[Last edited by dyzzypyxxy - Nov 4, 2013 12:51 PM (+)]
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Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
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Ridesredmule
Nov 5, 2013 11:19 AM CST
Yep, I believe they could make it but I believe I'd still take cuttings for back up.
You could use a bucket with no bottom to cover the bases with but be sure to mulch them even inside that bucket.
Name: Doris Klene
Greensburg,Indiana.
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kareoke
Nov 6, 2013 6:48 AM CST
I am in zone 6 and they sure would NOT make it here.
Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
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GordonHawk
Nov 6, 2013 9:44 AM CST
Well there's alot more to it than zone... zone only formulates the lowest temperatures you'll likely see in the winter... how long it's that low and what the daytime temperatures might be during that time ... the amount of moisture ..wind are not considered in the zones... all of these can make or break your brugs.. microclime has everything to do with them surviving... being against a south wall is a great start... more so if it is a brick or block wall.. with an uninsulated foundation.. more so if it is also blocked on the sides with another wall .. or wind break.. perhaps where a dryer vent exits the house.. in front of windows on the south side is a help.. as the reflected light/warmth is a great boost to theground temperatures in front of them... like having a double sun.. and mulch.. not only on top of the plant... but feet thick for yards away from it... find out to what depth your ground will freeze to in the winter.. and have more mulch or dirt on top of them than that.. you might find you can get lucky.. and remove the mulch early.. cover the ground with plastic to heat it up in the spring.. it might be less work to dig them and water them all winter inside ..
Name: JT Sessions
Milton,Fl.
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gone2seed
Nov 11, 2013 8:04 AM CST

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Gordon is exactly right.We get winter temps here down to 12 degrees F but they only last for a couple of hours.The ground never freezes.
Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
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bluegrassmom
Nov 11, 2013 8:33 AM CST
I had seen somewhere that you could cut them back and wrap the trunks with burlap. I might try that. Also my elderly uncle would put hay bales on his big canna bed lol. Not to attractive but it worked. At 90 he wasn't doing much digging.
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
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Ridesredmule
Nov 11, 2013 1:12 PM CST
I don't blame him. as we age our back -bending days sort of slow down. I've never wrapped them but it could help. usuall mine come back from the ground, not the branches. Evenually you will be able to bring them off.
Name: Gordon
Brooklyn , New York
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GordonHawk
Nov 11, 2013 5:49 PM CST
Get them in the ground as early as possible... and feed them rel well and often...then again....you want them as strong and built up as possible... so the roots will have developed as deep as possible... diging out a terribly deep hole then refilling it with loose soft soil... perhaps fluffed out with some potting soil... to encourage the root development to be into the deep path of least resistance... and retained water.. if you wrapped a cut back [plant with padding.. then a noo freeze heat tape wrapped around a pipi next to i under more padding and a heat retesive covering... I bet you could get down colder than 6 .. but you still have to keep the soil warm enough also...
where Charleen is and where my mother is in zone 7 .. they come back from the roots... usually.. nothing above ground survives at mothers in Nortth Alabama.. about 10 miles from TN... they have been comming back for 10+ years I'd say
Name: Teresa
South central KY (Zone 6b)
Consider the lilies of the field
Seller of Garden Stuff Irises Hostas Region: Kentucky Lilies Peonies
Region: United States of America Garden Photography Vegetable Grower Hummingbirder Cat Lover Heucheras
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bluegrassmom
Nov 11, 2013 11:29 PM CST
Gordon, your Mom's blooms just coming back from the roots?
Name: Doris Klene
Greensburg,Indiana.
Horse,cattle owners click klenepipe
Charter ATP Member Mules Daylilies Tropicals Plant and/or Seed Trader Cut Flowers
Container Gardener Birds Bromeliad Seed Starter Region: Indiana Plumerias
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kareoke
Nov 12, 2013 7:18 AM CST
Brrrrrrrr we woke up to SNOW this morning, this is tooooooo early Crying
Name: Charleen
Barnesville, Ga. Zone 7b-8 (Zone 8a)
Walk in Peace / I'm Charley's Mom.
Miniature Gardening Mules Tip Photographer I sent a postcard to Randy! I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Level 2 Seller of Garden Stuff Butterflies Birds Region: Georgia
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Ridesredmule
Nov 12, 2013 7:36 AM CST
Gordon is so right. It dies to the ground and comes back from the roots. I have some in pots in the ground and mulched. but I take cutting for back up insurance. Just cut them, label them take off all the leaves and put in a 5 gal bucket, about half full of water and put into a cool room...that is how I do it....
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Nov 12, 2013 2:04 PM CST
I'm still wondering why go to all that fuss and take the risk when you can keep it in a pot, cut it back and bring it in the house for the winter? If you only have one or two they won't make a jungle out of the house as long as you cut them back enough. The two huge ones on my patio - see pic - were cut back by about half in late September. They love it. Both have buds coming along, although we are getting a cool night or two coming up, so we'll see. I'm going to prune them again after these blooms finish, to let more sunlight onto the orchids.

If you can get yours blooming a month earlier next summer because they didn't go dormant, you will be rewarded with at least one, maybe two more bloom cycles before fall temperatures hit again.

IF you do leave it outside, wrapping the stems won't help. They will just die back/rot faster because the wrap will keep them damp. The plant will die back right to the ground anyway. Only the parts that don't freeze will survive, so it really just depends how cold it gets and for how long. Good luck, whichever way you go.
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Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill

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