Q. What kind of soil should I plant my container-grown Brugmansia in, and what is the ideal fertilizer for them?

I own several species of Brugmansia and have experimented with various potting soils and soilless mixes over the years, with varied results. My biggest problem is making sure the mixes are properly aerated while also supplying enough food and water to these ravenous tropical beauties.

I usually feed my plants 3 times a week with the atypical blue stuff, alternating every couple of days (weather permitting) with foliar feeding--a fish & seaweed hydrolysate. I do use a bloom booster once I see buds starting to form but once it gets above 85°F the Brugmansia drop their buds. I'm at a loss as to what I should do for them.

I also recently came into possession of the variegated Brugmansia named "Snowbank" & was wondering if you could give me some pointers on how best to care for it? I had read it needs to be kept out of full sun.


Brugmansia can be a beautiful specimen in a garden, but it is not so easy to maintain at peak in a container.

If propagating from cuttings, you want to start with a very light soil mix, because cuttings will rot if left in soggy soil that will not drain. A good cutting mix is about 2/3 Perlite to 1/3 all-purpose or fortified potting soil in a 4-inch pot.

After about 2-3 weeks, with roots poking through the bottom of your pot, it's time to repot into a larger container with a different soil mix--a 50/50 Perlite to potting soil mix. The established cutting has more roots and needs a mix that will hold more water for a longer period of time. Container size is important too. A 4inch pot sized cutting will rot if placed in a gallon or 3-gallon pot. It simply can't handle all that room and moisture.  A 6-inch pot is best.

I am not sure what size your tub is--hopefully big enough to hold rich, loamy, well-drained soil. Watering well early in the day is helpful. Full sun is best, but maybe a little shade on very hot days will aid the flowers. From spring to fall, container specimens benefit greatly from frequent application of dilute liquid fertilizer.

As for your 'Snowbank' brugmansia, it is a variegated variety. Sunlight burns variegated foliage more because the lighter portions of the plant are more vulnerable to sun, similar to an albino human. Variegated brugmansia also require increased insect care, because the protective wax layer (cuticle) is very thin or non-existent.

For estensive information on brugmansia, visit the International Brugmansia Society website.

Hope this helps.


For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service

  • Last Updated Apr 02, 2018
  • Views 1239
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

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