Angel's Trumpet transplant, SoCal

doginthegardenOctober 30, 2009

Next on my task list for my crazy yard is to transplant an Angel's Trumpet tree. It's the last survivor of three potted ones that were given to us as a wedding present a decade ago. One of the other two died in the winter several years ago when we (gasp) had frost here in the west SFV. The second one died after a transplant into the yard at our last house. I think the siting was a) too sunny and b) into clay soil that wasn't well prepared.

The tree is about 5' tall with about 5 stalks, and probably rootbound in the big lightweight pot that it's been in for several years. It's pretty healthy as long as I keep it shady and watered, but doesn't bloom. At my last house I had constant issues with some bug nibbling holes in the leaves, but that hasn't happened at the new house. I found a nice spot to plant it that has some sun but mostly shade, fairly dry soil, some windbreak, and headroom to grow without running up into any of the larger trees. Plus a showcase spot at the foot of our driveway. I'll plant it soon, hopefully before the next rain.

I plan to......dig a hole, add in some planting soil and some kind of food, probably some all-purpose plant and vegetable food that I have on hand, and plant it fairly loose so the roots can expand. I checked the Brugmansia forum but didn't see anything too relevant (though I did learn that teenagers brew its flowers for hallucinogenic effect) so I thought I'd ask here if any comments or localized tips?

Thanks so much, Shannon

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gardenerme(z9/21 inland socal)

I have put them in the ground in orange county, am sun only, but mine needed LOTS OF WATER!!!!!!!!!! I would not put it in a dry spot . . .

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 10:32PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Mine like part sun and lots of water.
Can you run a drip line to it?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 1:14AM
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There is old irrigation in the area, and more importantly, a hosebib not too far off. I can probably at least get a soaker hose down. Ha the old irrigation is far from being sorted out, there are at least four sets of old timed circuits, loads of pipe and sprinkler heads underfoot, but the various valves and etc seem as likely as not to explode when we put them under load. I'm sure everyone reading this is thinking, well just fix it, but that particular undertaking isn't really top of the list yet. I'm so glad we're going into rainy season (I hope!).

Anyway, thanks for the reminder to sort out water before I put the trumpet in the ground. sb

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 1:57AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

With your track record of killing the other specimens, and if this last plant has any sentimental value, I'd suggest taking some cuttings and rooting them indoors in a glass/vase of water to have a backup. It makes me wonder why you bother growing this if it never blooms for you, but that is probably a reflection of not fertilizing and watering it sufficiently. Brugmansia are heavy feeders, and especially in a pot, need either time release fertilizer at the soil or regular applications of liquid or granular balanced fertilizers.

It is not worth planting out a Brugmansia if you aren't going to keep it well watered, and they need bright dappled shade at a minimum to bloom well, deep shade doesn't suit them. Even in the winter you will need to keep this well watered, your area doesn't usually get all that much rain, and day time temps get warm enough that this is going to keep growing and also dry out quickly. I'd also suggest locating this somewhere it gets a bit of morning sun and is also protected from the prevailing winds of your Santa Ana winds.

As to planting out a root bound container Brugmansia, I'd suggest shaving off the outer 1&1/2 inches of the root ball all around, to eliminate spiraling roots and ensure new growth. I'd also suggest adding some time release fertilizer to the soil mix, and make sure you give this plant a very good soak for at least 5 to 10 minutes twice or three times a week. Let the foliage be your guide, leaves wilt substantially if it lacks for water. Branch tips dying back are another indication that you aren't watering enough.

Brugmansias should grow like weeds and flower outrageously off and on all year long in southern California if they are well watered and well fertilized. New growth in late winter/early spring is especially prone to snail damage, so bait heavily around the plant in the cooler months, until it warms up and the plant can outgrow the snail damage.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2009 at 10:34AM
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Thanks all, esp. Bahia, that's great advice on transplant, feeding and snails and a good idea to pull clippings. I think the spot I have for it will be good, sun-shade-wind wise. I'll try to get to this in the coming week or two!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 10:52PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Mine is 15' tall. They are much happier in the ground than in a pot.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 2:03PM
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