Thursday, January 22, 2009


If you, like me, every so often in the throes of a cold winter's day, hark back to memories of late summer or even early fall, you may be thinking about Brugmansias, or angel's trumpets, a tender perennial in the northeastern zones from 7 and downwards.

From mid-August to first frost, the absolutely gorgeous pink fluting trumpets of my plant, possibly a Brugmansia Pink (x suaveolens,) would serially burst forth from their pod buds to hang from the branching stalks of the 6 feet tall miniature tree - grown in a pot - because its tenderness dictates that it be brought in as soon as cold threatens. So it comes into the little poly-carbonate greenhouse which leans into the backside of the house.

The leaves shed themselves, the main stalk remains green. You can cut the main stem down to a foot or so. The one residing under the table which I've cut back to about 15" tall has already leafed out profusely. This year, I decided to keep the second Brugmansia tall, cutting back only the tips. The green five foot high stalks have started to leaf out just about now.

But what about rooting up the cuttings? I hate to waste perfectly healthy stem cuttings, and after all, that's how my two plants began life with me. So I stuck the 5 pieces I gleaned from my trimmings, each about 4 inches long, into compost in a pot; I watered the pot and pulled a clear plastic bag (punching a few small holes for ventilation) over the mouth of the pot to promote the humidity necessary for speedier rooting.

And lo and behold, within 10 days, the cuttings signaled life by leafing out happily. So now, friends who have room and who wish their own angel's trumpets know what's in store for them come spring.

Most herbaceous plants, or even some semi-woody ones, will not object to similar treatment. What may vary with particular plants might be the time of year propagation by stem cutting is undertaken. Some woodier species may need a little boost with a bit of rooting hormone, it does not matter whether powder or gel.