Brugmansias forum: Full sun in Florida?

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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
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mellielong
Apr 25, 2015 1:56 PM CST
Hi Brug people! I usually hang in the butterfly thread but I have a question for you experts. A while ago I had a lady who lives up the road stop and want a cutting of my Brugmansia because apparently it was a color she didn't have. I thought pink was pretty universal, but I guess it was just the right shade of pink. Hilarious! And in return, she brought a small potted baby from her Brugmansia. Now, I've been trying to decide what to do with it because you know how it is with gardening - there's never enough room!

But then today I had a thought. We have a semi-circle driveway in front of the house and for years we had a Canary Island Date Palm planted there and I put a bunch of my bromeliads around and underneath and on it. But it died a few months ago. We've talked about what to plant there to replace it. I was thinking a small tree or large shrub. It couldn't be too large and I wanted something that would grow fast and maybe blend in with the tropical look I have going with the bromeliads. Today I wondered, could I plant the Brugmansia out in that much sun? I'm talking full Florida sun (Tampa area). No shade from anything. It would be planted far back enough from any concrete so that shouldn't be a problem. I can water it to get it established and the sprinklers run twice a week so it would get watered regularly. But can they take that much sun and heat? The only one I grow is under an oak tree, although I've been to Sunken Gardens and they grow some of theirs in full sun. So let me know how sun tolerant these things are and if I should wait to plant it since we're entering the hottest time of year. We're also about to enter the rainy season, though. All advice is appreciated!

And for your viewing pleasure, here's my current Brugmansia. I took these photos today. FYI, I live on a cul-de-sac and I'm on the end near the main road so all the people going up the road get to see this and all my neighbors have to drive by it. Lucky them, right? I guess that's why the lady up the road wanted a cutting! The first pic is taken standing in my yard, while the third I took from my car when I was leaving to go to Starbucks to give you some perspective.

Thumb of 2015-04-25/mellielong/8f5665

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Name: Sandi
Austin, Tx (Zone 8b)
Texas Gardening
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Bubbles
Apr 25, 2015 2:05 PM CST
Mellie, I am sure someone with more information will pop in, but I have to tell you that brug is stunning! No wonder the lady wanted a cutting! My humble opinion is you should plant your brug in a spot that has similar conditions as yours is in. Brug usually like a little cool respite at some point during the day. Full sun may be a little too much heat. Thanks for sharing the photos!
Name: Rhapsody Hooks
Long Beach Ca USA (Zone 10a)
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Rhapsody616
Apr 25, 2015 11:45 PM CST
When I look up Tampa USDA Zone it says it is zone 9B. I live in zone 10B and they do well in full sun here. My focus then moved to heat and rain. If the brug is a good size (3-4 feet) I would think it would so well in the ground with your watering schedule. The rain should be ok as well if it is in the ground. A pot might promote root rot... that is my 2 cents..

Hopefully we have someone who lives in Fl. to answer more directly.

Rhapsody I tip my hat to you.
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Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
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mellielong
Apr 26, 2015 12:07 AM CST
Thanks, Rhapsody! I saw a lot on conflicting info on the web and figured I should just ask people who grow them. I think the Brugs are fine in the rainy season since we have such sandy soil. Everything drains right through. My biggest concern was just the intensity of the sun. Since I got the plant for "free", I might just try it and see what happens. Gardening is kind of like a big science experiment to me. Some things work, some things don't. Luckily, I've learned from quite a few of my mistakes. Oh, and I also want to clarify that I am not responsible for killing the Canary Island Date Palm I mentioned. I suspect my brother; he hated it. Hilarious!
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Name: Rhapsody Hooks
Long Beach Ca USA (Zone 10a)
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Rhapsody616
Apr 26, 2015 12:25 AM CST
Sounds like a plan... though I might add a bit of compost to the earth since it is so sandy so you don't have to water every 15 minutes. Lovey dubby
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Name: Mike
Pinellas County, Florida (Zone 9b)
Tropicals Region: Florida Bromeliad Salvias Enjoys or suffers hot summers Plant Lover: Loves 'em all!
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Foreverlad
Apr 26, 2015 7:58 PM CST
Mellie,

B-E-A-utiful Brug. I believe i've got 2 of the exact same one, and I also thought it was pretty much a generic, no-frills, commonplace variety.

I'm just outside Clearwater, and I'm growing Brugs in full sun, dappled shade and full shade. The only thing to be concerned with is the quality of the soil. With Florida soil not all that wonderful to begin with, some of those full-sun locations have had all the worthwhile substances baked right out of them.

Depending on the soil quality, you might want to toss some compost or a bag or two of manure into the hole before planting, followed by a healthy spread of mulch. After the Brug is established it'll produce it's own shade, but the first few months can be torturous without some moisture retention and basic nutrients added.

Did the lady mention what color/variety that new cutting is?

Mike
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Apr 26, 2015 8:42 PM CST
Thanks from across the bridge, Mike! I believe the lady just said hers was a different shade of pink. She didn't give me a cultivar name or anything. Sounds like a good plan with the soil amendments. We added some compost and such years ago but I don't think we've done much to it since. I'll have to ask Dad. Since we had a palm there I think he was just giving it palm food every now and again. And my bromeliads don't really care if they're even in soil so I don't worry about them too much. But I could definitely work to improve the soil in the middle where the Brug would be.
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Name: JT Sessions
Milton,Fl.
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gone2seed
Apr 29, 2015 8:50 AM CST

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I'm in Florida but can't add anything to what Mike said. He covered it,especially about adding to our sand.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Apr 29, 2015 10:02 AM CST
Melanie, I have brugs in some sun, and partial shade and they definitely do best in the partial shade for me. But in the full, blazing sun I think a young one would have trouble getting established unless you watered it every single day. They are heavy feeders and love lots of water and rich soil. Once it gets established you could prune it to keep the top growth thin enough that it could support itself out there in the full sun. But I'd sure wait until it has a big root system to transplant it.

Then there is also the issue of nematodes. Every brug I have put in the ground has sort of petered out after a few years and when I pulled them out, the roots were all knotted. That beautiful one you have might be planted near enough to the oak trees that the nematodes don't like the soil there. But unless I sink a big pot for them, mine have a struggle getting going near my oak trees, too because of all the root competition.

So, my advice would be to grow the little new one in a big pot at least until the rainy season begins, and it will get some cloud cover in the afternoons. Enrich the soil as much as you possibly can, to help with moisture retention and nematode prevention, then plant it out in June or July or August and water as often as you can in addition to the sprinkler watering. Show us a picture of it before you plant it out, and we can advise you on pruning it, too. (if it has branched by then)

As far as soil enrichment, if you can possibly handle a bag of alfalfa pellets (horse food, available at feed store or Tractor Supply in 50lb. bags for about $15) they are by far the best thing I've found for my garden in recent years. I sprinkle handfuls of them around everything, and even put them in my Earth Boxes and potted plants. The brugs just jump up and turn dark green whenever I add alfalfa - I've taken to sort of 'stewing' it in my old watering can, and then pouring the porridge of alfalfa over the top of the soil in the pots so they get a shot of dilute goodies right away, as well as the long term breakdown of the pelleted alfalfa.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Melanie Long
Lutz, Florida (Zone 9b)
Larva tested, Pupa approved!
Butterflies Hummingbirder Birds Bee Lover Enjoys or suffers hot summers Region: Florida
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Bromeliad Native Plants and Wildflowers Forum moderator Plant Identifier
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mellielong
Apr 29, 2015 12:38 PM CST
I think the one I have must be magic because all I ever did was stick it in the ground. Dad prunes it every now and then when it interferes with the mowing or this spring to cut off the top that got frosted. I definitely need to get the baby one into a bigger pot. Which means I need potting soil. Looks like I'll be starting a list! Oh, and Dad can lug a bag of alfalfa pellets. I'm sure he'd just enjoy the trip to Tractor Supply! Hilarious! We actually have a feed store that's closer. I can't remember what he went there to buy, but I know he bought something a few months ago. Sounds like I have a new gardening project!
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