Winter Protection for Brugmansia and Subtropical Plants
Many subtropical plants need protection from the weather in winter and Brugmansia is no exception. When temperatures drop to near freezing Brugmansia require protection from the frost. A temperature below 4c will not be for long before Angel Trumpet plants begin to sulk. Natively, Brugmansia like temperatures between 7c - 25c where they will continue to grow throughout the year and they do not drop their leaves. In the UK, and most parts of Europe, Brugmansia should be stored away from frosts and winter winds. In the UK they will begin to lose their leaves if temperatures drop below 3c for extended periods and temperatures below 0c could damage the plant and it could die back to the ground. Hard frosts will finish off what is left in the ground or pot!
How can I protect my plant?
I would recommend you bring the Brugmansia in from the garden at temperatures of 5c (taking into consideration the wind chill). Store the plant in a suitable pot which drains well and keep in a dry greenhouse, conservatory, shed, garage or similar. I would also recommend an inexpensive heat tube which could be turned on to take the chill out of the air. If temperatures really plummet to say - 5c to - 15c I would recommend you wrap the plant (pot and all) in thick layer of fleece also with a heat tube on and this will protect the plant through the colder parts of winter.
Unwrap when temperatures return to normal.
How can I prepare for winter?
It never hurts to be prepared. Start buying some essential supplies to save last minute panic buying. Here is a good list for overwintering Brugmansia and other subtropical plants:
-Stock up on a couple of rolls of fleece from the garden centre.
-Buy a heat tube, or paraffin heater.
-Buy a fan (for ventilation) when greenhouse doors shut
-Use horticultural grit on the floor in the greenhouse to deter slugs and snails in wet weather
-Check structure for gaps and seal
Bubble wrap can also be useful for insulation (Big bubbles)
Getting my plant ready?
When you bring in Brugmansia for overwintering it might be necessary to cut back the foliage. You can go as far as cutting all the foliage off but in my experience this isn't necessary, if the plant wants to shed all its foliage it will do so regardless. Cut back to a size suitable for storage, cutting just above a node. I would recommend only cutting back as far as the green stem growth, try to keep as much as the barked stem as possible to assist in the following years growth.
Good luck with overwintering and remember you can never be over-prepared!
TIP: Never let Brugmansia roots dry out as this produces a poison which kills the plant. Keep lightly moist over winter, but don't overwater.