Angel’s Trumpet: Happier Indoors Than Out

This was a tough summer for my angel’s trumpets (Brugmansia cultivars). Normally they bloom like mad from August through September, but this summer was particularly cool and night temperatures starting dropping below 60F (15C) starting early in August. As a result, they looked awful, with small, often torn leaves and few flowers. With frost being announced for mid-September (we finally got it the night of September 18 to 19), I had to bring them indoors very early. And the photo gives an idea of how they reacted.

octobre 12
Brugmansia ‘Peaches and Cream’ blooming in my plant room.

Better Indoors

My Brugmansia ‘Peaches and Cream’ is much more attractive indoors that it ever was outdoors this summer. The flowers are very fragrant at night: by bedtime, you can smell them two rooms away. In the plant room, the scent is so intense it would be nearly unbearable… but I spend no time in the plant room after dark, so that’s not a problem.


A lot of people put their angel’s trumpets into dormancy through the fall and winter, putting them in a cool, dark spot and withholding water, but when I tried this, I found that it took them so long to perk up again in the summer that I didn’t get much bloom. Of course, that would be quite acceptable in a climate where you have warm nights for months on end, but where I live, just about as far north as you can possibly garden, there are rarely more that 90 frost-free days, not enough for a dormant brugmansia to get up to cruising speed.

Challenges of Growing Brugmansia Indoors

Of course, growing them indoors over the winter has its challenges too. First, they’re big plants and take up a lot of space. That’s why I only have two of them. Also, they stop blooming completely by late November, probably because of the very short days. And during the winter, I have to watch out for spider mites, which proliferate in dry indoor air (I get rid of the pests by giving the plant a thorough shower). Brugmansias need a lot of water, too, even in winter, because their huge, thin leaves transpire a lot. I fertilize all year long, because their foliage starts to yellow if I don’t. As soon as the weather warms up outdoors (usually around the 2nd or 3rd week of June here in Quebec City), I put them back outdoors, gradually acclimating them to more and more sun before putting on a patio in full sun for the summer. There they usually bloom abundantly by mid-August… at least, when there is a bit of summer heat.

This text was first published on this blog on October 12, 2014. It has been revised and the layout updated.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

4 comments on “Angel’s Trumpet: Happier Indoors Than Out

  1. Goodness! They get fifteen feet tall! I could not grow one inside if I wanted to!

  2. How cool you said that I love it!

  3. Thank you for this article

  4. Wow!! Thank you for sharing this. Much appreciated. RIP Larry, still teaching us all from heaven above. Love it. ?

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