International Kill Your Brugmansia Day

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Though International may be overstating the case, I've been looking hard at my Brugmansia lately.  There is nothing more wonderful than the sweet fragrance of the flowers drifting on the sunset air in summertime.  The plant provides screening of (and for) the neighbor's pool area, and it creates a small shade patch in a garden that has very little of it.   It shades a Sasanqua camellia that I wanted to get going, and did the job.  The camellia is now well established and can easily handle the sun it would get if the Brugmansia was gone.  So...there are good things about the Brugmansia. 

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There are also bad things: it grows rapidly, yellows, dies back, grows rapidly again, yellows, dies back, on and on, and drops a lot of litter in the process.  It looks particularly ratty in what passes for cold weather here, and ratty off and on again in summer, between growth spurts and flushes of bloom.  That Sasanqua camellia I sheltered so carefully is often smothered with dead Brugmansia leaves.  So...there are bad things about the Brugmansia, too. 

Plants are rarely 100% satisfactory--there's always a problem or two to have to tolerate or manage.  Those few rare plants (Agave 'Blue Glow'!  Coprosma 'Tequila Sunrise'!  Rosa 'Firefighter'!) that, though they may not be flawless, are nonetheless completely satisfying...those are ones I cherish, and lately think that I should fill my garden with them, and remove everything else. 

I began lopping, intending to remove only the Brugmansia's dead branches, of which there are many.  Besides the leaves and flowers constantly dying, the smaller blooming branches die as well, hollowing out and turning papery.  One thing led to another.

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I stopped because the green waste bins were packed full.   If I do not continue all the way down and remove the roots as well, the whole beastie will quickly grow back--the neighbor's tidy row of Arbutus unedos will vanish behind the golden bells and rank Brug foliage before the end of the summer.   The green bins won't be emptied for a couple of days.  Time to think if I want to get the whole thing out or not.  The base of the thing is monsterous big and cutting and lugging all the stuff to the green bins was painful.

I grew that Brug from a 6" cutting my Mom gave me around 2003 or 2004.  It was completely floppy and limp by the time she brought it over. The leaves were shriveled  I stuck it in a pot anyway and soaked it.  It was perky in an hour, rooted in a week.   In a pot it needed water 3 or 4 times a day.  I put it in the ground, into its current location, and water it once or twice a month in summer, not at all otherwise.  It was happy with that. 

Do I fill the garden only with plants I absolutely adore?  I'm still thinking.  How will you know what is adorable without trying (and killing) a lot of different plants? 

Comments

  1. I have many brug's too and I know what you mean about the love/hate thing. I think a lot of it is placement. My favorites are ones that are in a background spot that I forget about until they do their amazing blooms and then I remember how much I love them. Others that I have planted to be specimens in prime places make me moan in dread many times during the year. Maybe time for me to move those too!

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  2. Here I hear that Brugmansia often freezes to the ground in winter. I don't have any and only admire their flowers from afar. I've pretty much been moving toward only having plants that I love. With annuals and perennials I keep and keep getting the ones that work and remove or stay away from the ones that didn't. Since brugs root so easily, why not put one in an out of the way place like Sheila? Have fun with that stump.

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  3. Background spot is a great idea. Though this was (sort of) my background spot. Not a lot of room in the garden for areas that can be less visible, and something 12 feet tall tends to be visible.

    The neighbors have one, a nifty pink cultivar--maybe I'll just have to peek over the fence once in a while and enjoy theirs.

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  4. You must get colder winters than us Sherry. Here they look bad, but do not freeze. Oh no...the stump. Don't want to think about it! :)

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  5. I'd been brug-free for many years, but now I've got a Charles Grimaldi about 4 feet high that I'm getting the same ambivalence for. If only they'd die every year! I really do think they look best in zones where they're conservatory plants. I'm growing GM as a standard and hoping this somehow solves some of the ugly brug issues. I wish I had room to keep it in the background like Sheila.

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  6. For years now in my zone 8 garden I've been carting huge brugsmansias inside in the fall and outside in the spring and longing to live in zone 9 where they could stay in the ground year round. Their fragrance, for me is one without which summer would not be quite complete. It's nice to know that there is a down side to growing tem in the ground.

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  7. You are dedicated, tomius! Your specimen must be really beautiful.

    One thing I think Brugs love that we lack are warm summer nights---here it normally cools down by 20 degrees or 25 degrees at night in summer, unlike other parts of the world. Makes for more comfortable sleeping, but rattier Brugs.

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