Mystery Sphaerocarpium Brugmansia about to bloom

mark4321_gwMarch 17, 2013

Last December I bought a Brugmansia from a great small nursery in San Francisco (Hortica). The plant was labeled Brugmansia sanguinea 'Inca Princess' (an all yellow clone). I had bought a plant with that label from the same wholesaler (Suncrest) a couple years ago. I later heard that that earlier plant bloomed red. So I knew that Suncrest had a problem with mislabeled plants, but I assumed that they fixed the problem by now.

The nursery owner told me when I took the plant up to the counter that it was probably not the plant as labeled. One had bloomed, and it had bloomed an intense pink color. He thought the plant, whatever it was, was superior to 'Inca Princess'. He was also sure that it was not the Strybing Vulsa (the plant sold for years as B. vulcanicola). While the flowers of that plant fade to pink, the nursery owner was familiar with that plant as well, and said the color of the one that bloomed was more intense. I have seen a photo he took of the one that bloomed. As it's his photo I won't post it here, but I thought it would be interesting to watch as mine bloomed. I really don't know for sure what it will look like, so this will be a surprise.

My plant is in the ground and appears happy.

People who have seen the photo of the intensely pink flower, and have seen pictures of my plant's leaves, seem to think it's a vulsa (VULcanicola plus SAnguinea hybrid). So we'll see.

Here's that plant when I bought it. I believe it was $11 for a 1 gallon plant.

And here's what a bud looks like, as of this afternoon:

I should add that although this is a one gallon plant, labeled by Suncrest wholesaler as 'Inca Princess', I also recently saw 5 gallon plants, from Suncrest, labeled 'Inca Princess', in bloom at Berkeley Horticultural Nursery. They looked like "regular" Brugmansia sanguinea:

And just for reference, here's what unopened buds look like of Brugmansia sanguinea 'Pasachoa' (left) and the Strybing Vulsa (right):

So in the next few days it should become apparent what this plant is: Some possibilities are:

1) a new, dark pink Vulsa (?)
2) the Strybing Vulsa
3) B. sanguinea 'Inca Princess' (as the label says).
4) a red B. sanguinea
5) something else..

Any guesses? I'm hoping for 1, but I'll be happy with anything but 4 (which I have).

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Monday morning: the bud is larger, with more of the orange color:

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:57AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Thanks for posting, Mark. It is interesting to watch with you of the progress of the blooms.

My brugs are still dormant in the basement. Soon I will put them under lights to get ready for moving outside late this spring. It is still snowy and freezing here. This cold spring is making up for the very early warm spring we had last year.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:27PM
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I didn't realize it was still so cold in MN. Half of my relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins) live there. I have an uncle in Northfield who grows Daturas. Years ago I suggested he try Brugmansias, and I think I gave him a couple cuttings. I'm not sure if he followed up on it. I think it's amazing they can be grown successfully with such a short growing season.

Here's tonight's update:

The bud is bigger/longer:

And a second one is opening:

I still can't figure out what it will be...

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 9:49PM
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It's getting longer and more colored:

I still can't tell what it is, although the coloration might be consistent with a B. sanguinea or something else. Not a yellow sanguinea. Possibly the coloration on the corolla tube extends farther up than on most red B. sanguineas?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 1:28PM
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The color continues to intensify, and I think the bud is still lengthening. Here's a photo this morning in the sun. Again note that the color extends farther up the corolla tube than for a typical B. sanguinea. It also seems relatively long and narrow, I think.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 3:20PM
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I think it's getting very close. I was hoping it would be opening this morning.

I think the color of the most intense regions is close to what is called "international orange"--the color of the Golden Gate Bridge. I expect that color to change.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 12:05PM
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The view at 7 A.M.:

And from below (sorry for the fuziness):

A check of the color comes up with names such as "torch red" and "radical red". It will be interesting to see how the color continues to develop.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:36AM
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The flower is open and the color continues to develop.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Here's one from this evening. It was no longer sunny, but not yet dark when I took the photo. I added a couple things that I grabbed nearby for color comparison/contrast. The red is Petunia exserta, the pinkish/purple is Centradenia floribunda.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Beautiful! It's nice to see how it progressed, congrats.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 8:44AM
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Hi Eloise,

Thanks. It's nice to get a pleasant surprise from a mislabeled plant!

I think the color has stabilized in the first flower to open. Here's a photo that shows it nicely:

A second flower has opened, and I'll just show the whole plant so that you can see them both. The newer flower is on the left:

The entire plant is about two and a half feet tall,and growing quickly.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 3:45PM
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I notice the colors in the photos seem a bit muted. The Gardenweb photo upload system seems to work better than Photobucket for this. I'll repeat the last photo, using the Gardenweb upload:

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 10:41AM
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I'm not sure if I mentioned that I later bought a second plant at the same nursery, with the same label. That plant opened a flower over the last few days. It is still in a 1 gallon pot. I believe it's the same, and that any differences are due to the lighting, age of the flower, etc.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 12:22AM
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MissMudPuppy(z7 - L.I.)

WOW! What a stunner! Never seen one that color before. Blessings really do come in disguise ;) ! Does it have a scent?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 3:54PM
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I haven't noticed a scent, but if there is something faint I could have missed it. From what I understand, fragrance of a "cold group" (Sphaerocarpium) flower would imply the flower is part Brugmansia arborea, as it's the only species in this group with any fragrance. Even then, only some such hybrids are fragrant.

The color is pretty amazing. I've grown the Strybing vulsa, and it reminds me of that, but much more intense. One of the "experts" has suggested that the hybrid is B. sanguinea ('Inca Princess'?) x Strybing vulsa.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:55PM
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ruth_ann(Z5 Ont.Can.)

Thanks for showing us your images, the flower has stunning colour.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:23AM
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Seems California is the place to grow Brugmansia

Boy that was nice going through the day to day reports on the development of the bloom
Exciting it is growing Brugmansia

we want more


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Beautiful, if you ever sell any cuttings, I'm up for grabs.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Mark again the picture just came to my laptop while I am awaitng news re my son is travelling by air from Toronto to Ft Myers

I am listening to the news of the bombing in Boston and worried about him on an air plane
Sad for the people involved and hurt and their families

Then here came this picture of beauty

My sister in law and brother are going to be in California, now I forget where they are going to be For an entire month Do you think they might be able to purchase and send to me one of those plants if there are yet any at the nursery you purchased yours from.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Hi Diane,

You would have to check with the owner of Hortica to see what he might have in stock or if he could special order. The problem is that since the wholesaler doesn't seem to realize what they have, you'd have to buy a previously bloomed one to be sure. I did see 5 gallon plants with the same label at a nursery in Berkeley that bloomed like a typical red/orange B. sanguinea.

Another problem is that one gallon plants are difficult and expensive to ship.

I'm attempting to propagate the plant(s) and have already started about 15 cuttings. Cuttings are slower and less predictable than warmer-growing Brugmansias.

This is probably premature, but you could always check with Elizabeth Peters at Grassy Knoll Exotic Plants and see if this is a plant she plans to propagate and sell. She already sells the Strybing vulsa at a very reasonable price and I believe she has other interesting Sphaerocarpium Brugmansias that she will hopefully sell at some point. I'm sure she would be interested to know that there are people who would buy the plant. She runs a first-rate nursery and has some amazing plants. I understand she does ship internationally. It doesn't have a name, but she'd understand which plant if you referred to it as the Suncrest Brugmansia from Randy.

I've discussed this with others, and I think it makes sense to refer to the plant as the "Suncrest vulsa" in the absence of any other information.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grassy Knoll Exotic Plants

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 11:30PM
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I am all the way back home in Canada
Brought my dear Brugmansias out of the cold room and now outside Is yet cold for them but not freezing
Has been lots of rain and it in spite of cool weather, gets them going
Lots of clean up , spring clean up to do in the gardens.
I miss my lovely gardens in Ft Myers Florida that I left behind Including the Brugmansia that where just starting to bloom
Was hoping tonight there might be more of your fabulous photos to inspire and keep me motivated.
It is so good to be home, but, all the treasures in my gardens, need time and care Will be awhile Lots of Hellebores in bloom Different colours they look good and crocus and daffodils Don't get me wrong, spring is pretty.
Love to see more of your so good photos. Still, we want more.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:01AM
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