Brugmansia or moonflower is a genus of seven species. The genus Brugmansia is native to the Andes, Ecuador to northern Chile, Colombia to Peru and Southeast Brazil west to Bolivia.
Few shrubs or small trees can rival a Brugmansia in full flowering flush. They are a spectacular sight, available in a plethora of colours and are easy to cultivate and provide a dramatic tropical element to a garden. Having said all the above, few if any plants can rival the heady, evening and night-time perfume of Brugmansia – wait for the sun to set!!
Brugmansia is a quick growing tree or shrub and can attain a 3x2 metre spread. The flowers are pendulous and are up to 25-30cm long. The scent is lovely and permeates the evening air. The leaves can be smooth in some, but most are velvety to the touch and about 30cm long. Brugmansia start to flower in early summer and can continue, with the right treatment, through to autumn.
Plant in a light, fertile, well-drained soil. Brugmansia is a fast grower and heavy feeder and needs to be fertilized/composted/manured regularly during the growing season. Provide lots of water to keep it in bloom in summer and autumn. Since it blooms on new wood, it can be trimmed when growth becomes excessive or when you want to shape it as a dense round shrub or tree. It will take a month or more to resume blooming after pruning. Grow in a warm sheltered spot and protect against excessive wind.
Brugmansia does best in a "mostly shade" location, which has spotty, or mottled sun reaching the plants. They really like to receive the early morning sun and then be protected from full, direct sun for most of the day. This is not to say that you cannot grow Brugmansia in full sun, ... but if you see significant wilting, pale foliage, and your plant seems to be stressed in general, then try less sun.
Brugmansias can grow anywhere with mild frost or in frost free areas. In areas of heavy frost, cultivate them as container plants and protect them against severe cold in the winter.
Brugmansia is in the nightshade family, same as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, etc. It is a poisonous plant, but has come to have a rather exaggerated negative identity for this. It is no more poisonous than the tomato plant! The plant contains the tropane alkaloids, scopolamine and atropin.