Brugmansia Mania ‘Grand Marnier’

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Elephant Ears, Canna, Banana, and Brugmansia are four of my mania plants.  I would probably go insane if we were unable to get these plants here for container gardening.  A nursery visitor told me one day that Brugmansia doesn’t do anything for her.  I responded, “You either love them or hate them.”  As for moi, I think they are amazing.  Their eye-catching large trumpet flowers and fast growth is a necessity for us CT gardeners whom enjoy tropic temptations!

Blooming 2010

This year Brugmansia x candida ‘Grand Marnier’ is on my plant order list for 2011.  A subtropical shrub or tree, it is hardy to zones 9-11.  This cultivar is popular and vigorous. It will grow up to 4-5 feet tall and wide in one container planting season, and produce large soft apricot-pink blooms, known as angel’s trumpet.  During the evening, the flower’s fragrance is intense and very noticeable.  It may be too powerful for sensitive noises.  Place it at a comfortable smelling distance or nearby if you are a perfume lover.  It is no wonder these large angel’s trumpets blossoms are captivating for they can reach 8 to 12 inches long.  As they dangle down and hang on for periods of time, you can’t help but notice them during the day hours too. 

Pronounced brugh-MAN-zee-uh, serve it up solo in a large container or mixed with other annuals and perennials. Just be sure to consider a full sun location and compatible planting partners with similar needs.  However, with that said, the large upper canopy can cast some shade to the plants below depending on the container’s location.   You won’t be disappointed with the flower blossoms as they appear in abundance, sometimes up to 15-20 on a plant at one time.  The shape of the flower is stunning as it unfurls with pointy, flaring tips to the edges of the trumpet’s opening.  Blooms form on the new growth which is great for our short summer season so you don’t have to wait to see them.

The soil should be rich, well-drained, and watered well.  But don’t over do it- it likes to drain between waterings.  In CT, you can overwinter this plant by tricking it into dormancy.  How-to tips are discussed in Cathy T’s Container Garden Parties.  See my website, www.cathytesta.com, for information. 

In warmer climates, this plant can be sunk into the ground in its container and covered for potection.  I spotted these plants in many locations in Hawai’i.  There they can reach tree size, up to 12′ feet tall.  However, take note every part of the angel’s trumpet plant is toxic.  Should you eat it, hallucinations are bound to scare you – and make you go mad!  Let Brugmansia mania be one for the eyes – and not for the mouth!   Cathy T

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