Monday, October 25, 2010

Brugmansia Makeover

Here's proof that some houseplants can do well in spite of their grower. This is brugmansia, (a.k.a. Angel's Trumpet),  this particular cultivar being 'Frosty Pink'. I bought it from Select Seeds way back in 2003. All these years, it has merely survived because I never gave it enough sun or food. This spring, it began as the gangly stick at left...growing and blooming to become the 7 foot+  monster at right.
After some slight frost/cool temp damage, the blooms were still opening beautifully on October 14th....
....smelling fantastic as well! (Though I'm too short to smell them up close, the plant is just too tall!)
Poor thing is in such a small pot and so top-heavy, I had to resort to stakes, bungees and old knee-highs to keep it steady in the wind.
The setup skun it up slightly, but no mortal injuries. So now to the task of cut-back and re-potting...., look at that thing! It seems even taller under my porch! It was beginning to rain, so I took shelter for this process.
Here's the pot my friend is graduating to. My Texas gardening guru who has lots of experience with brugs says to put it in the largest pot that I can lug around, as they appreciate plenty of "leg room". I feel even more amazed that it bloomed for me with it's feet so confined, but I finally caught on to a regular feeding schedule this year. About once every month or three weeks in the winter with fish emulsion in water, then every other watering spring to now with either Miracle Grow or fish emulsion (with a capful of molasses to a gallon). I can only imagine how much happier it will be in this larger pot next year!
First, I cut the tops back. *Sigh* I simply couldn't bring myself to remove the blooms!
I combined spagnum moss, orchid soil/chips, and some potting soil to encourage rooting, then strapped the bags to my stumps.
I just happened to have this library bookshelf newly acquired from a friend, so I propped them up in here, blooms and all. They're three feet tall or more, and my friend says that plants started from blooming cuttings will bloom sooner than seed-grown. Bonus! Plus the fragrance was absolutely intoxicating that evening, especially confined in this room.
Here's the sad and oppressed root ball.... I teased the roots out some.....
.....but I was afraid to cut this large root that was cirling the old pot (there were a few more like it, too).
I sprinkled some of my own "nutrient mix" that I use mostly for cacti but figured it could help here: equal parts kelp meal, bone meal, and greensand. I must confess that I use no science, rhyme or reason for adding this stuff. It just seemed like a good idea to me and I felt like it, kind of the way I garden in general and explains my inconsistent success (in other words-I am no expert! :)
And here we are! May I present my friend "stumpy".....
...ready for his long winter's nap until spring. I'm handling his overwintering differently this year too: he will sit in the dark cool of my bedroom with limited water and attention until spring. Last year I kept him leafed out in my bright plant room...I'm told you can handle it either way and have a happy brug. I guess I'll find out!


troutbirder said...

Interesting. I did have one of these Angel Trumpets once, and an 8ft. Norfolk pine, and huge Angel Wing Begonia. All got too tall for the living room and more importantly too heavy to lift in and out of the house. Sayonara! I hated to see them go. But two ended up in a local Nursing Home! :)

lisa said...

I have a Norfolk Island pine that's looming, too. My mom sold off some of her monsters at a yard sale this year, but giving them to a nursing home is a FANTASTIC idea! Thanks!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Ha! Stumpy is perfect for Halloween! And love that you rooted the blooming parts. Whenever I hear "teasing roots," I tend to imagine you saying thingsd like "Neener neener, you're so tangled even your mother doesn't love you." Or something.

lisa said...



How awesome. I wish I hadn't gotten rid of my Brug seedlings. Although, given how much my niece and nephew like to explore I'm glad I played it safe. I'll just enjoy the beautiful blooms on yours.

lisa said...

Well if you feel some "brug withdrawal" I can hook you up...I have several nice cuttings :)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I'm still lol at Monica's comment. :)

You did a fantastic job with that brug! Those blooms were beautiful!
My cutting has little tiny leaves now. :)