Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Heaven ‘Scent’ Angels trumpets

Angels trumpets, or Angel Strumpets as someone punned, are spectacular, and easy. Once known as Datura now some are reclassified as Brugmansia which is not appealing and rebelliously many still prefer Datura. The most commonly grown form, D. suavolens, has huge lily like white trumpets with the fantastic scent most marked in the evening. There are yellowish and pinkish varieties but these are less tough and somehow not as gorgeous as plain white, though frequently as floriferous with dozens at a time. The white can be grown from seed and any piece will root with ease so many can be propagated from just one plant as they grow vigorously.

All that growth means they need regular feeding but don’t let them get lush and too dark a green as then flowering will be delayed and they’ll be harder to over-winter. They are extremely thirsty plants, especially as they often outgrow their pots, or tubs rather. They are quite tough and can go out all summer but must come in before a hint of frost. Under cover in the warm they can flower on and off throughout the year and may even continue through a bright winter. If you can’t keep them warmer than frost free it might be better to dry them off for winter instead. Basically you stop watering them then put them somewhere frost free, under the staging is fine, with extra insulation if you suspect you have insufficient heat to be sure it’s frost free. Whether over-wintered in leaf or dried off it’s a good idea to prune hard in spring or they get too big, and conveniently when you multiply them most easily.

A little prone to common pests these rarely suffer much from the infestations which often disappear if they go out for the summer. There are many close relations, all similar, though in some the blooms point up like chalices instead of hanging down. There is even a weedy species called the Thornapple, D. stramonium, sometimes found wild and considered a serious problem as it spreads from seed viciously and is extremely competitive, particularly for phosphates. This makes it useful as a mineral accumulator. Sow thick in spring and cut down before any flowers set. Compost the tops, and repeat with the re-growth. Your compost becomes enriched with phosphates which can then be returned to your crops or flowers in a more available form.