Brugmansias have been a favorite plant at PowellsWood for many years. Visitors often comment about the huge leaves and golden trumpet-shaped flowers. The Brugmansias add a tropical element to the garden, and perform well here during the spring and summer months. But, being native to warmer climates, they require some extra TLC to see them through the winter here in the Puget Sound region. Read on to learn how we overwinter Brugmansias at PowellsWood…
In the fall, we begin monitoring the weather forecasts, and make sure to dig the Brugmansias out of the ground before the first frost, usually in mid-October. We then cut the plants back quite a bit, and place them into large plastic pots, with added potting soil. We place the pots in our unheated maintenance garage, by a window and away from the door. This gives the plants natural light while protecting them from cold drafts. We also set up a couple of light stands near the plants to increase the temperature a bit. Then we let them be, allowing the soil to dry out, just giving them about one pint of water each month.
In February, we begin reviving the plants by giving them a diluted feeding of liquid kelp fertilizer once a week, which helps strengthen the root system. After a few weeks, we increase the feeding to full strength once a week.
As outdoor temperatures warm up to at least 50 degrees, usually in late February, we begin taking the plants outside in midmorning to remain outside through the day. At night, we bring the plants back inside, especially if the temperature falls below 45 degrees.
When outdoor temperatures reach 55 degrees, the Brugmansias are ready to be planted outside. We hope it will be warm enough by early May to do this, so they’ll be in place by Mother’s Day weekend for visitors to enjoy. However, the past couple of years, we haven’t been able to plant them outside until much later.
When we finally do get to plant the Brugmansias outdoors, we place them in a sunny location in the garden, adding a top dressing of bat guano to the soil. For the rest of the season through the fall, we feed them every week with a liquid organic fertilizer, or tomato fertilizer works well, too.
And then we stand back and watch them grow… The Brugs may require a bit more tender loving care, but they are worth it for the beauty they bring!