Subtropical Plants: A Practical Gardening Guide

Subtropical Plants: A Practical Gardening Guide

by Jacqueline Sparrow, Gil Hanly


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Subtropical Plants: A Practical Gardening Guide by Jacqueline Sparrow, Gil Hanly

Illustrated with 200 color photos, this book offers practical guidance to gardening with the increasingly popular subtropical and tropical plants. The authors describe and provide cultivation information for a wide selection of plants, including palms, orchids, cacti, and bromeliads.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881925449
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/28/2002
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.45(d)

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Brugmansia (Solanaceae)

Tree-like shrubs or shrub-like trees? It is difficult to place brugmansias, as they develop trunks and most can grow to tree size. However, there is no question of why brugmansias or, to give them their previous name, daturas, are cultivated. It is for their bold, trumpet-shaped, highly perfumed flowers. Brugmansias bear large, soft, sage-green leaves, are evergreen, and develop their grand trumpets after a year. Their original habitat is in the Andes.

The plants have hallucinogenic properties, and all parts are poisonous. Snails do not seem to know this and treat brugmansia leaves as haute cuisine. A warm climate suits these plants, and some species grow happily at the beach. In fact, several types have naturalised in odd pockets of many countries in seaside areas. Free-draining soil is needed, and moisture. It is best to pinch plants back as they grow, otherwise they develop into ungainly, untidy shrubs. Watch out for whitefly, spider mites and mealy bug, as well as voracious snails. Brugmansias are easily propagated from cuttings and make handsome container plants in marginal climates.

Brugmansia aurea is illuminated with long golden to apricot, open-faced trumpets, trimmed with flares. B. x candida, angel's trumpet, grows to tree size in rather a raffish way if left to its own devices. The hanging white trumpets end in a delightful flare, like a dancer's skirt. This species has fragrant flowers, intensifying in the late afternoons and at night, heavy and sweet. There are several good cultivars, too. 'Plena' is fancy, with an extra flounce, and others are in shades of apricot. Semi-shade will suffice for the angel'strumpet.

B. x insignis is a very good hybrid, in colours from white to cream or apricot, and other brugmansia hybrids and cultivars abound, too, usually in blush pink to darker pink, apricot and gold, while B. sanguinea, red angel's trumpet, boasts two-toned flowers in brick red and yellow. It is not as elegantly structured as most, nor as vigorous.

Closely allied are Datura species, a genus of about eight annuals and perennials. Among them is the moonflower (D. innoxia). This perennial is often treated as an annual, and grows quickly from seed. Its alabaster-white flowers, edged in a soft, lilac, emerge in the evening and perfume the air with a spicy aroma. Moonflowers reach a height of around 1 m, and are ideal for containers, or in small groups in the flower garden.

PHOTOS: Brugmansias make ideal pot subjects.

Table of Contents

Palms and Cycads71
Perennials and Bulbs122
Cacti and Other Succulents150

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