Angel's trumpets are flowering plants in the closely related Brugmansia and Datura families. Brugmansias are native to South America, while Datura plants grow wild throughout the southwestern United States and Mexico. These exotic-looking flowers make attractive container plants and work well in gardens, but may be toxic if ingested.
Brugmansia plants are woody-stemmed shrubs, while Daturas are herbaceous plants. Datura plants, also called thornapples and devil's trumpets, grow around 3 feet tall, while Brugmansias reach heights of 20 feet. Both species have alternate, simple, oval-shaped leaves with a coarse texture and an unusual fragrance, according to Rebecca Slater and Dr. Leonard Perry from the University of Vermont. The two varieties produce trumpet-shaped blossoms that can grow as long as 20 inches. Brugmansia blossoms tend to droop, while Datura flowers have an upright form. Their blossoms vary in color from white to reddish, peach-colored or yellow.
Species and Cultivars
Several varieties of Brugmansia angel trumpet flowers include Brugmansia (B.) sanguinea, which produces cream-colored or yellow blossoms with red tips; B. Flava, which yields 8- to 10-inch flowers; and B. versicolor, which produces 12- to 22-inch flowers. Brugmansias are available in cultivars such as Grand Marnier, a versicolor variety that yields apricot blossoms, and Red Angel's Trumpet, a sanguinea cultivar that produces 9-inch-long reddish-orange flowers. Datura metal plants are available in the Alba, Aurea and Cornucopae cultivars.
Caring for Angel's Trumpets
Brugmansia angel's trumpets prefer full or partial sunlight and enjoy warm temperatures. They require fertilization once or twice a week during the growing season and need to be watered several times a day during hot weather. Datura angel's trumpets prefer full sunlight, warm weather and moist, nutrient-rich soil. Both species can tolerate average types of potting soil as long as the soil has adequate drainage. They propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings, and some species can also propagate by seed.
Angel's trumpet plants contain the toxic plant chemicals hyoscyamine, atropine, and scopolamine. The leaves, seeds and blossoms are toxic if eaten. People who ingest angel's trumpets may experience a rise in blood pressure, muscle weakness or paralysis, fever and hallucinations. Insect pests such as whiteflies, spider mites and scales drain sap from the foliage, while slugs chew holes in the leaves. Angel's trumpets are hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 9 and may not survive outdoors when temperatures drop below 45 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the cultivar.