Also called angel’s tears, this tender perennial is a semi woody shrub or small tree and a member of the nightshade family, (Solonaceae) that also includes potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Like nightshade, it is poisonous with the leaves and seeds being especially toxic. The plant is native to the coastal rain forests of Brazil where it grows along river banks and forest edges. The plant grows 10-12′ tall and often has a single many-branched trunk. The oval leaves are up to ten inches long and six inches wide. The fragrant flowers are usually white but may be yellow, orange, yellow or pink and are produced in profusion. They are trumpet shaped, 9-13″ long, and pendulous to horizontal. Pollinated by moths, they fully open in the evening and are partially close during the day. The plants make eye catching specimens and can be grown in containers and taken indoors during the cold months. The genus name, Brugmansia, honors Sebald Justinus Brugmans (1763-1819) a Dutch botanist and physician. The specific epithet, suaveolens, comes from the Latin words suāvis meaning pleasant/sweet and  olens meaning smelling, and refers to the fragrance of the flowers.

Type: Tender shrub or small tree

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Vase-shaped

Growth Rate: Rapid

Bloom: White, pink, red, orange, or yellow pendulous, fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers up to thirteen inches long in summer

Size: 10-12’ H (5-6’ H in container) x 10-12’ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Fertile, moist, well-drained; wilts easily in heat

Hardiness: Zones 10-11

Care: Water heavily during growing season but keep container grown plants bone dry in winter; fertilize during bloom season.

Pests and Diseases: Nematodes, spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, white flies, caterpillars

Propagation: Seed, stem cuttings during the growing season

By Karen