One of the most striking genera out there, Brugmansia (broog-MAN-zee-ah) consists of seven species and three natural hybrids that are all extinct in the wild. More on Angel Trumpet types here.
Domestically, these South American plants are alive and thriving, with numerous cultivars registered every year.
Sometimes referred to as “brugs” by enthusiasts, these perennials are best known as angel trumpets due to their large trumpet-shaped flowers, which hang, unlike their close cousin Datura, which have more erect blooms.
But many growers of these amazing plants run into the same problem for different reasons: they need to transplant their Brugmansia.
Knowing when and how to perform this task can be a little different depending on the circumstances, but it’s generally an easy task in all cases once you know the basics.
When is the Best Time to Transplant Angel Trumpets
Brugmansias can be transplanted at any point in the year, although summer is generally best when the weather’s not too hot or dry.
However, in some cases, you may find it more prudent to transplant in spring or even early autumn.
Three Reasons to Transplant
As mentioned, there are multiple reasons you may wish to transplant your brugmansia, and each case should be handled a little differently.
Container plants will need to be repotted every few years to refresh the soil and prevent becoming root bound.
You may also wish to transplant a brugmansia plant into the garden from a pot.
Finally, it may be necessary to transplant a garden plant into pots to overwinter them indoors.
Best Times to Transplant Angel Trumpets
Spring is generally the best time to transplant from a pot into the garden.
Just be sure the risk of frost has passed.
Transplanting a plant from the garden to a pot for overwintering should be done in late summer after it has finished blooming.
You can repot a container specimen at any point in the year if the plant is indoors, but doing so in spring allows your brugmansia plenty of time to recover before it’s time to bloom.
Related: When Do Brugmansias Bloom?
Note that angel’s trumpets are separated into two groups: the warm group and the cold group.
Warm group plants will generally only grow outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10-12, while cold group plants may grow as low as zone 8 when properly mulched or overwintered indoors.
Some cold group cultivars are a little more cold-hardy and may grow in zone 7b.
Repotting a plant as large as a brugmansia can be a bit difficult, as they can fill a 20 gallon container when fully grown.
Grab the trunk just above ground level and lift (get help if it’s too heavy), then knock the pot until it drops off.
NOTE: When handling Brugmansia wear gloves and long sleeve shirt as Angel Trumpets are poisonous.
Gently remove the soil from the roots, checking for signs of damage or disease as you go.
To prepare the new pot, add a base layer of gravel or pebbles to aid in drainage.
Fill the pot about 1/3 full with fresh potting mix or a homemade mix, making sure to add any aggregate (coarse sand, perlite, etc.) and any organic material prior.
Lower the plant into the middle of the pot and begin adding potting mix over the top.
Lightly pound to knock the sides of the pot a few times while filling to aid in settling.
When the container is full, you can still raise the brugmansia if you think it’s sitting too deep.
Grab the plant from just above soil level, lift to the desired height, and knock the sides of the container.
You can also wiggle the plant a little to help move soil underneath the roots.
Once you let go, you’ll find the plant is sitting higher in the pot.
Check to ensure the plant is level, then gently tamp down the soil and give some water.
Transplanting into the Garden
You’ll want to transplant a potted brugmansia into the garden in early spring after the danger of frost has passed.
For cold group plants, this means once the temperatures no longer dip below 32° degrees Fahrenheit.
Warm group plants are less cold-hardy, so your threshold will be much warmer 40° degrees Fahrenheit.
Acclimate the plant by first introducing it to the outdoor weather briefly, then for increasingly long periods for a week.
Removing the plant from its container is the same process as repotting.
You will want to place it in a hole roughly the same depth as the pot and preferably with a substrate of gravel to aid in drainage.
Mix in some organic compost with the soil and gently fill in around the plant, tamping it down so that the soil level is at the same height as it was in the pot.
Give the ground a nice watering and you’ll see new growth emerge fairly soon after.
Transplanting to Overwinter
While it may be possible for your brugmansia shrub to overwinter outside, it’s usually best to take it indoors for the winter unless you plan to restart using cuttings next year.
The process begins the same for all of these options.
As temperatures begin to drop, you’ll notice the plant starting to drop leaves.
It’s usually best to bring them in before the first frost, although cold group plants may be able to handle a brief light frost if one hits by surprise.
Grab some sharp, sterile shears and begin cutting away any deadwood and any green growth.
If you plan to propagate using cuttings, this is the best time to collect them.
What you’ll be left with is a naked, sad-looking plant but one that will overwinter nicely.
Note that you’ll want to cut it back almost to ground level if you aren’t transplanting indoors.
Next, excavate the plant and knock away any dirt.
Place it in a pot just as you would when repotting a plant, although you can use some poor compost or potting mix.
Move your angel’s trumpet into a garage or basement where it’s cool (around 40 t0 50° degrees Fahrenheit) and dark.
Don’t water the plant unless the soil’s about to go totally dry (and only give it a light watering).
In spring, you may either move it back to the garden or repot it.