How to Care for an Angel Tree
Angel tree, or angel trumpet tree, is a member of a group of plants called brugmansia. They are loved for their large, fragrant, trumpet-shaped blossoms that hang upside-down from the branches. The flowers can grow up to 12 inches long and the tree can grow 20 feet tall in its native South America, but should reach the size of a large shrub in the United States’ warmest zones, zones 9 and warmer. In areas cooler than zone 9, the shrub will need either intense winter protection or to be brought indoors.
- Moderately Easy
things you’ll need:
- Plastic, gallon-sized pot
- Grow angel trumpet in full sun. Anything less than full sun will result in fewer flowers. If you think your angel trumpet isn’t producing many flowers, move it to a sunnier location. In very warm climates, protection from direct afternoon sun is best.
- Protect the tree from wind. This tree’s delicate branch structure and pendulous flowers are easily broken or damaged in strong winds.
- Lay 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch around the base of the tree, but keep it away from the trunk. Mulch that touches the trunk can cause rot.
- Water the tree regularly, up to twice a week in dry conditions. The best way to tell if the tree could use more water is to watch for a wilt. A little wilt won’t harm the tree, but water it more frequently if it occurs.
- Prune angel trumpet every year to force new branches and new flowers, as Desert-Tropicals.com recommends. Cut off all but the newest growth. Don’t cut into the branch collar, which is where the branch connects to the trunk.
- Cut down the main stem or stems to 6 inches tall before the first predicted frost in your area. Cover the stem with a plastic, gallon-sized pot and cover it with straw. Remove the pot after the chance of frost has passed and water the plant once a week.
- Bring potted plants indoors once outside temperatures reach 50 degrees Fahrenheit, if you have the room. Place the plant in a sunny window and water it regularly until water runs out the bottom of the pot, letting the soil dry out between waterings.
- Force the plant into dormancy by placing it in a cool, dark place. Trim off one-third of the growth before storing the plant. Water it monthly and bring it out of the dark about a month before you plan to bring it back outdoors. Begin regular watering, once per week, and place the plant in a sunny location.
- Root some green stems when you prune back the plant for the winter to ensure that you have a new plant in the spring. Cut 12-inch lengths of branch, pull off the largest leaves. Stick the branches in 6 inches of water and place the bucket in a sunny window. They will root within weeks, after which you can pot them in a well draining compost/garden soil mix. Transplant the rooted cuttings after the last chance of frost has passed or grow as a container plant.