Gabriel's trumpet flowers (Brugmansia spp.) are shrubs or small trees that feature large, drooping, trumpet-shaped flowers. Previously, they were classified as from the Datura species. These tropical beauties are native to the Andes in South America. Often simply called "angel's trumpets," they are from the nightshade family and are poisonous. For that reason, many home gardeners choose not to place them in their landscapes. For those that do, however, the reward is a spectacular show of blooms from summer to fall.
Brugmansia is a tropical flower, and as such, should only be grown outdoors in tropical or subtropical climates. In America, these areas are defined as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 10B through 11. The shrub will also grow in USDA zone 9, but it is best to plant it in a container so that you can bring it indoors if unusually cold weather threatens.
This shrub, which can also be trained to grow as a small tree, can reach a height of 15 feet, according to information published by the University of Florida. The slender leaves average between 6 and 8 inches long. The creamy white, bright yellow or orange flowers, which are shaped like trumpets and hang vertically from the branches, can be over a foot long.
Gabriel's trumpet can grow in a large variety of soil types, from heavy clay to light, rich loam. The soil should be kept moist, but never overly waterlogged, as this will cause root rot. The shrub will flower in part shade, but will bloom best if given a full day's worth of sunlight.
Pests and Diseases
Brugmansia can suffer from a number of insect pests, the most serious being the whitefly, which, according to information published by the University of Vermont, can kill a young trumpet plant very quickly. Care should be taken to monitor the plant for insect populations. Treat the trumpet plant with an insecticide as soon as insect activity is noticed.
The flowers, leaves and seeds of this plant are all poisonous if ingested, according to North Carolina State University. These things can cause dry mouth, weakness, a fever, hallucinations or even paralysis. Note that the plant must be consumed in large amounts to be toxic to a human, however.