Overwinter angel trumpets – care in winter

Beautiful angel’s trumpet – a southern child of course, native flowering plants rarely produce such magnificent blooms. And yet the angel’s trumpets grow almost unbelievably willingly, provided they survive the winter in our (deficient) climate reasonably well. There are several options for overwintering the angel’s trumpet, depending on which angel’s trumpet you have purchased and the space available in your home.

It depends on the species

We now offer quite a lot of angel’s trumpets, wild forms and hybrids, i.e. breeds involving a wide variety of mother plants. Here is a small overview, with key points for winter storage:

  • Brugmansia aurea:
    • from Ecuador and Venezuela are quite used to colder temperatures
    • are not very demanding when it comes to wintering.
  • Die Brugmansia arborea:
    • from Brasil
    • robust plants grow in Chile and Colombia at higher altitudes, should definitely tolerate some cold
  • Brugmansia sanguinea:
    • knows colder altitudes from the Colombian and Chilean Andes
    • are considered to be sensitive to moisture and susceptible to viruses
  • B. suaveolens:
    • not so suitable for cold, but otherwise robust and fast-growing
    • real beginner plants when frost-free overwintering
  • B. versicolor:
    • comes from the tropical part of Ecuador
    • would like to hibernate at at least 12 degrees and needs a sheltered location outdoors in summer
  • Brugmansia vulcanicola:
    • even rare in Colombia
    • delicate and not easy to cultivate
    • for the winter, they appreciate a bright quarter with temperatures of 2 to 10 degrees
  • Brugmansia x candida:
    • Hybrids of B. versicolor and B. aurea
    • grows naturally in the Andes
    • can withstand quite a bit of cold and is considered easy-care and robust
  • B. x flava:
    • a cross with restrained scented flowers
    • sensitive and even susceptible to viruses
    • not a plant for angel trumpet beginners
  • Other Brugmansia hybrids such as B. x cubensis or B. x rubella can be very hardy, but they can vary quite a bit in traits depending on the parent plants.

In addition to certain preferences of a certain Brugmansia variety, overwintering also depends on how and where the individual plant was grown. When buying an angel’s trumpet, you should therefore find out very carefully what the seller has to say about winter storage. If you buy your angel’s trumpet from a dealer who has nothing to say about wintering, you should at least try to find out the exact botanical name in order to be able to inform yourself. If that one isn’t available either, you should probably suggest that this high-priced grower come back next spring to hear their overwintering experience.

Hibernation in cold house

The angel’s trumpet comes from countries close to the earth’s axis, where it enjoys intense sunshine all year round. There, the actually evergreen plant grows evenly throughout the year. However, it is better for an angel’s trumpet cultivated in our latitudes if you force it to take a winter break. In any case, it suffers from a constant lack of light here and consumes a lot of energy during the summer season.

The optimal temperature to force an angel’s trumpet to shut down its metabolism during hibernation is around 10 degrees. The location should be as bright as possible. Suitable rooms are e.g. B. a little heated but bright conservatory, a stairwell or a shed with windows. The room can occasionally get a little warmer. However, if the average temperatures rise above about 17 degrees, the angel’s trumpet has a hard time starting the growth break.

It will probably continue to bloom for a while anyway. However, if you stop fertilizing when you move them to the winter quarters and supply them with water very sparingly, the metabolism will slowly slow down. However, the plant must not dry out completely either, a slight moisture in the root area is best (only water when the soil feels dry).

Hibernation of the Brugmansia in the living room

Because it doesn’t really know a rest period in its homeland, an angel’s trumpet can basically spend the winter in your warm living room. However, this will weaken the plant quite a bit. So you should expect the Brugmansia to take a break from flowering at some point. Also, if it continues to grow through the winter, it will likely sprout so-called dead shoots, thin emergency shoots due to the lack of light that should be pruned away completely before the summer season. And then her flowers smell really intense. She usually brings these blossoms into the living room first – with an intensity that not everyone is enthusiastic about.

hibernation in the dark

The last, but probably the most disadvantageous option for overwintering an angel’s trumpet in a bucket is to overwinter in the dark. Young plants in particular are not suitable for this. You need a room that cools down to temperatures of about 5 degrees at most. Under these conditions, the angel’s trumpet must and will lose its foliage, which usually overwhelms the young plants. It usually survives a bright winter quarters better. Among the adult plants, too, there are some angel’s trumpets among the wild forms and the breeds that have arisen from them, which tend not to cope with a dark winter quarters. If you are dependent on such a hibernation, you should ask carefully.

Last home solution: Overwinter only part of the Brugmansia

If your space conditions do not allow otherwise, you can simply leave the angel’s trumpet buried in the garden to its fate. Of course, you have to wrap them up so well that this fate may even carry you into next year.

If that’s not the case, it doesn’t matter either – if you take precautions: you cut a few cuttings from the existing plant just before the cold snap, which results in the packing. These should be “giant cuttings” with a length of around 1.5 meters, which you simply put in a bucket with moist sand over the winter. This bucket can now hibernate pretty much anywhere there is space (even in the dark). The main thing is that it doesn’t freeze. The cuttings should have the first roots next spring. Young plants that are planted now and are well cared for can grow to almost 2 meters in height and also flower in the same season.

Overwintering service for Brugmansia

If you can’t find room for whole angel’s trumpets or a bucket of cuttings, but really don’t want to risk overwintering in your garden in your area, you could ask if your local nursery offers overwintering services. Especially if you transport the plants there yourself, it may cost less than you think.

Cutting care in preparation

You can take care of the cut of the angel’s trumpet in the autumn. Especially if your specimen has developed into a trumpet tree in summer that no longer fits into the winter quarters. You can then even go beyond the normal cutting limit of the angel’s trumpet (cut from the first fork) and do the radical cut for the next few years. In this case, however, you must be prepared for the fact that your Brugmansia will not be able to do more than create a new flowering zone (without a single flower) in the next season. After such a radical cut, the angel’s trumpet should always be kept warm for a few days, in the autumn sun on the terrace or in a warm interior. In the cold house, the cut surfaces could remain open long enough for the Brugmansia to suffer damage from “bleeding out”.

Angel’s trumpets that are not “exuberant” are better overwintered in their autumn form and pruned in spring. With the then (almost) leafless plant, you can easily find the second fork, where the cut should start, and the overall structure is also very easy to recognize.

General information on care in the winter quarters

When watering in winter, the general rule is that the root area of ​​a brugmansia should not get too wet under any circumstances. That would be even worse than a little too little water.

Every time the angel’s trumpets hibernate, you should also make sure that the winter quarters are regularly well ventilated. In the case of the Brugmansia, this always means when the weather permits, because fungi and mold like to settle with foreign guests anyway. And other pests, regularly checking the plant for all sorts of (aphid) lice, mites and scale insects is therefore an essential part of winter care.

Can angel trumpets stay in the garden in winter?

It depends – first again on the variety, then on the age of the angel’s trumpets. Also on the place in Germany where you want to carry out this winter storage.

There are gardens in Germany that are in the already inhospitable USDA climate zone 6b (average minus temperatures around -20 degrees), in which huge angel’s trumpets survive year after year, unimpressed by the cold. But there are certainly connoisseurs at work here who know exactly where to buy the hardiest varieties. These angel trumpets were certainly not planted out as small seedlings. There are also gardens whose microclimate is significantly warmer than the surrounding area. If things get really critical, these connoisseurs will certainly know how to pack their Brugmansia well.

But at least – if you find a competent breeder and are willing to find out more, maybe let the young plants overwinter for a few years in the nursery and, if necessary, quickly provide your plants with an efficient “winter coat” – then you can also grow magnificent garden Brugmansia in Germany. But by the time the angel’s trumpets survive, you’ve really put a lot of effort into it.

Most garden owners, where you can admire planted angel’s trumpets in their garden, therefore proceed differently. They treat the Brugmansia to the outdoor location that is so important for them in the summer season, in the sun. There, the angel’s trumpet is simply placed in a bucket or, ideally, buried in a plant basket in the ground. This is how she benefits most from summer residence. In winter, the bucket moves to its winter quarters, or the plant basket is simply dug up and overwintered in the desired place.

Kira Bellingham

I'm a homes writer and editor with more than 20 years' experience in publishing. I have worked across many titles, including Ideal Home and, of course, Homes & Gardens. My day job is as Chief Group Sub Editor across the homes and interiors titles in the group. This has given me broad experience in interiors advice on just about every subject. I'm obsessed with interiors and delighted to be part of the Homes & Gardens team.

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