Previously known botanically as Datura, these large shrubs or small trees are often called angel's trumpets, because of the bold, pendulous flowers which come in flushes about every six weeks basically all year round. In full bloom, this is a spectacular sight and provides a dramatic tropical element to a garden.
The most commonly seen species is Brugmansia x candida (ht 3 -4 m), with its white blooms. A double form, 'Plena', is sometimes seen, and the cultivar 'Grand Marnier' has soft apricot flowers. Brugmansia aurea (ht 2-6 m) has pale golden yellow flowers and there are hybrids with pink blooms, such as 'Ecuador Pink'. Brugmansia sanguinea (ht 2-3 m) has orange-red flowers and is more frost hardy than the other species.
This genus is a member of the Solanaceae family of plants. Sometimes Nicotiana seedlings come up nearby my Brugmansia, and belonging to the same plant family, give it an echo on a smaller scale, especially the tall white Nicotiana sylvestris.
Brugmansia can grow fairly untidily, and one way of keeping them neat is to train them to a single trunk when they are young. The branches also need to be pruned every so often to maintain a compact form. This can be done severely in late winter or else progressively through the year, removing one branch every month or so.
Brugmansia originated in South America and are generally regarded as frost sensitive. They prefer sun, good soil and sufficient water. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Protect from snails. The plant is fairly easy to propagate from cuttings. Note that the root systems of these plants can become huge, and so can affect the growth of nearby specimens, so appropriate placement is important. Removing the stump of a Brugmansia can be a Herculean task! They can be grown quite successfully in large pots, trained to a single trunk.