I am giving up on growing brugs! :)(

caflowerluverJanuary 1, 2014

I have tried for many years but the weather pattern has changed and we are now getting much colder winters. I have lived in this area for 27 years and noticed that every year it is getting colder and the cold temps last longer. Summers are also cooler with less sun and more foggy days. I live on the Santa Cruz, CA coast.

For the last few years the ones in the ground get shocked by cold temps and die back to the ground so never get a flower. I had a Phenomenal, that I grew from a cutting for 5 years, with flower buds (for the first time) that was in a pot in my (unheated) greenhouse and it got cold shocked. We had temps down to 30 deg. in Dec. for weeks and all the leaves and flowers turned brown and fell off. I just noticed that it is putting out new growth all along the main stem so still alive. Won't know about the ones in the ground until Spring. I will do a trade for other cold tolerant plants then. I am tired of trying to grow something that will no longer grow here.

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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I grow brugs in the ground here in North Texas and our temps get much colder than yours. I cut them back each fall, mulch and they emerge ready to grow in the spring. They bloom after the nights get cooler in late summer and early fall............growing into multi-trunked trees in a single season. I do fertilize heavily and keep them well watered and have no difficulty in getting blooms. Sorry you don't feel it is working out for you as you have been at it for so long.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 9:44PM
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Thanks for your reply. They use to do very well here back in 1995, growing up to touch the gutters and covered in flowers. Over the years it has become colder in winter and foggier in the summer. They die back to the ground and don't seem to have enough time to grow up to blooming size. They barely get taller than 4 ft. I fertilize them heavily and also keep them well watered but doesn't seem to help. Just don't have the climate anymore that they like.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 2:59PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

My favorite of all the brugs I have collected is Dr. Seuss, but he does love the sunshine. Again, so sorry as you did seem to enjoy them.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 3:36PM
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Why don't you try growing a few from the cold group ? They may love your temps. Sanguinea or maybe Arborea ? Couldn't hurt to try.

Also keep in mind that not all warm group love heat. There are many of the Euro brugs that really enjoy cool temperatures.

Also the brug Phanomenal is a known bud dropper and a terrible bloomer from what I can tell. Don't give up, try some new ones this summer and see how it goes.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 9:58PM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

I agree with Edna. Also, for the warm group, try growing the 'easy ones'. A lot of the single bloomers like Isabella, strawberries n cream, charles grimaldi, etc are not all that picky.
If you want doubles go for some of the more reliable bloomers like New Orleans Lady, Daydreams, etc. These are in the warm group but not as picky as some of the other doubles.
Miss Emily McKenzie is a good bloomer too (a very large single pink).
I live in a warm place now but I have lived in plenty of cold ones before and some brugs are definitely better performers all around.
I have noticed that some of my versi brugs- like versicolor peach are not all that happy with extreme heat and won't bloom until late fall/early winter in the hot areas when the nights are cooling down so that may be another type to try.
I am guessing you don't want to mess with digging up and storing anything overwinter.
You might ask around on the CA forum and see what others are growing in your area that are doing well.

You kinda have to pick your battles depending on your environment lol.
Here for me, it is the nematodes so I am selecting for resistance to that in what I grow grrr.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 11:49AM
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ednam - I didn't know there was cold group. I will check out the ones you suggested. My Phenomenal had 7 buds on it and was almost ready to bloom. I should have brought it inside since it was in a pot, but I thought it would be safe in the greenhouse. We don't usually get temps that low for several days in a row. I was crushed when I saw what the cold did to it.

sultry_jasmine_night - Thanks for the information on the different ones. I will look them up and read about them. My brugs did great for quite a few years so I guess I should be happy I had them then.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 12:54PM
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I'm down in Oceanside,ca. and mine grow very well here.One of them has been bloomlng all year long and still has blooms on it.Not only that,but this same one gets 2 different colored flowes on it at the same time,a yellow and a peachy color.

I live right along the coast and have a canyon behind us,so always get that ocean breeze coming across the canyon.Mine thrive on neglect.

Tomorrow,i'll post a couple pictures,i'm on my kindle now,and don't know how to access them from here..

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 12:20AM
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I'm in Oregon. so my brugs definitely don't winter. I have them in a huge pot and use a handtruck to move it. It is a pain, but it keeps flowering after I cut it back inside and waking up to that aroma just makes my morning. It is so strong in the house. Just put a livestock gas waterer heater in the green house that I got off ebay for $40.00. It has a thermostat so I set it at thirty seven and it hardly comes on. We had temps in single digits for a while and I have somniferum poppies sprouting and flowering. Cold no prob with them.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 12:35PM
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leo503 - nice picture. I am not physically able to haul them in a big pot in and out. I wish I could. I am going to be redoing my greenhouse. It is a rather small glass one. Right now it sits up on concrete blocks so cold air comes up from the spaces between the wood beams. I am going to have it put on a base of patio blocks so I can heat it in the future. That was the base I used on a large HF one I had, but sold it since didn't really need one that big.

kathi_mdgd - Where are you in CA? I live up in the Santa Cruz mts. and we have several climate zones on our acres. I have moved them many times around our property to what I thought was the most warm and protected area by the house. But can't fight nature and temps below freezing. Funny right now we are having temps in the 70's-80's. Crazy weather! Well at least they all are sprouting, so came back from the freeze.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 1:05PM
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I'm down in oceanside,and right now my tree is loaded.Now having said that,i have another one in another part of the yard,that doesn't do as well.Can't figure that one out..When i first got the one that's not doin so well now,back then it bloomed quite well also,then dh cut it way back and it hasn't ,done well since.Still i keep babying it along,and one day i hope it will snap out of it,whatever it is.It's a pink one,so i really want it to bloom.

Been unseasonably warm down here as well,and very dry.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:45PM
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Hi Clare,

Long time, no see.

Are you interested in adopting a cold-group Brugmansia? I have one that I've been interested in relocating somewhere closer to the coast. This is the plant that we decided to call the 'Suncrest vulsa'. It might be Brugmansia sanguinea (perhaps 'Inca Princess') crossed with the Strybing vulsa.

I have two plants. One in the ground that has gotten big and is in bud again (I'll post on that tonight). The other may or may not be the same clone. I don't have a good spot for it, and it's just gotten tall and skinny in too much shade and flopped over. It needs to go in the ground in the right climate. I can take it down to your area next time I head down that way. I will need to cut back the tallest two shoots, most likely, to get it in my car. That would also give me material to start a few cuttings.

If it's a different clone it should pollinate my in ground plant. So if you are interested in this, I may have to ask for pollen back at some point

The plant would probably prefer full sun in the morning, partial shade in the afternoon. I don't know about cold resistance, as I was frost free in December (!)

Here's the single flower, the one time this plant bloomed. This was Easter last year.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Below is the big floppy plant that needs to be adopted.

I'll also give a link to Grassy Knoll Exotic Plants, which is selling the Suncrest vulsa. In principle she may have plants derived from both of the ones I have. However, I suspect any plants she is selling come from material from my in-ground plant. The photo she uses is from that plant. You can compare and see if you see any difference. Other flowers on that plant looked identical to the photo Grassy Knoll uses. It will be intersting to see if that repeats this year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Suncrest vulsa at Grassy Knoll

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 9:03PM
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Randy - Beautiful flower! Some of the plants we exchanged are still doing good and others, not so well. Been busy with lots of personal stuff so not posting as much and also my garden got somewhat neglected. I am working on it trying to get it back into shape. And my brugs have made a liar out of me. They are doing great right now. It must be all the warm weather we got this winter. Even the Phenomenal came back like nothing happened to it. Brugs are resilient. Don't know if I have anything to trade though.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 1:12AM
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Hi Clare,

I think we got our winter in the three weeks before winter began. Since then it's been Spring, except for a couple rainy days. So everything is ahead of schedule. I guess weather everywhere is screwed up this winter. Great to hear that your Brugs recovered well.

I will email you, hopefully tomorrow.

I did see this in December, in SF after just the first bad freeze morning. A Brugmansia vulcanicola at Strybing did not do well. It's hard to tell it's the same--the angle is a bit different. However, a couple plants on the far right match up. They had quite a bit of damage.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 2:20AM
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I am surprised you are having trouble in the Santa Cruz area with Brugs. Perfect climate down there for a few varieties. Betty Marshall, Charles Grimaldi, and especially Frosty Pink. Plant in a protected spot from wind, near the house to throw heat at it. My Frosty Pink and Charles Grimaldi are along the back of the house, facing south and they freeze every winter. I just cut them back to three feet or to remove whatever is soft. You can mulch the roots when it's cold and they will come back yearly. Mine grows to fifteen feet to the eaves each season. Once it gets a trunk they are pretty tough cookies. I should have cuttings in the fall or maybe before if you want to try. Charles and Betty are less vivacious. Fertilize with fish emulsion, they love that stinking stuff to get a good go. Don't give up quite yet. But I do get the disappointment.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 3:07AM
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elysianfields - I do have them planted next to the house on the hottest side. It is so warm there the paint cracks and peels. Thought they would love the heat. But I can't control the winters and how warm or cold it will be. This year they have really come back but it is because we had a much warmer than usual winter. We had temperatures up in the 80's! Maybe I need to use more fertilizer and I will try the fish emulsion. Though if it smells that much, DH won't like me spreading it next to the deck. LOL

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 1:05PM
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Mine do droop when it gets hot but I water them in the evenings. And I'm rather neglectful about fertilizing them. The fish emulsion smells intriguing for a couple days then just fades away. A little goes a long way I will say. My trunks to my frosty pink are brown and aged rather than green and shiny so it has some stout roots under there. Mulch the base with some airy bark or amend. Maybe that will help get some age and blooms out of it. Add a little manure if you want to get creative.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:58PM
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