Forum home Problem solving

Brugmansia Yellowing and Losing Leaves


I'm looking for help for our Brugmansia. For 15+ years our Brugmansia has thrived in front of our house. This year it started massively losing leaves after a hot summer. I'm looking for a way to bring it back before I fear it dies. I did have an arborist who injected some nutrients in the roots and I've been watering it more assertively for the past three weeks. We are located in San Francisco.

Pictures from a few years ago and now.



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,871
    Hi 😊 
    Most contributors to this forum are in the UK where brugmansias are not hardy and we move them in the winter to dry frostfree conditions, wheee they usually lose most of their leaves, or take cuttings and start with new plants each year. 
    @fidgetbones ‘ description of taking brugmansia cuttings is here

    I suspect that your plant (which was glorious) may have grown so large that it needs much more water than it’s been getting. If it’s well watered this coming spring it will probably recover well, but I would take some cuttings to be on the safe side. 

    Hopefully @fidgetbones will see this and come along with some more advice. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,425
    edited January 2020
    I wish I could grow one like that. However, the frost we have had this morning would kill it. I treat mine like a buddleja every autumn it is cut down to about two feet, and rejuvenated from a a cutting every three years or so.  If you have never cut it down, then I would give it a severe pruning, and although they like plenty of feed, a water soluble feed in a bucket of water every day you should be able to do yourself.  If you can get Miracle grow soluble food, I would get that and follow the instructions on the packet. Brugmansias do like plenty of water and food. I have never heard of injecting the roots. It sounds like a good way to make money, with no real difference to pouring a bucket of water and soluble feed on each day.   Check the leaves for spider mite. In hot dry conditions they are prone to this. Again plenty of water and humid conditions tend to put them off.  Pruning off all infected material will get rid of them and the new shoots should be in better condition.  I would start by cutting it down to about six feet, taking off all spindly growth. It may look drastic, but should work. Use some of the material you cut off as cuttings. They will root in about three months in a jar of water on the windowsill.
  • Thanks to you both!   I will start with the Miracle Grow (any special version ??) in water for a few weeks and some thining and pruning at the top before I go drastically to six foot (I think it is 16 ft right now).   So you think doing that every day ?  If you look closely at the recent photo there is good new growth at the bottom though even some of those leave have turned yellow right away.  I'll take a closeup photo tomorrow to show.  We don't have much hot weather here in SF.
  • I have this Miracle Gro.   Will that work ?   Also, here are photos of the new growth that is stunted and yellow then drops off.
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,425
    Yes, you can use that miracle grow. The yellowing like that is either spider mite or a nutrient deficiency.  It is obviously struggling, I would cut it down by half. If the leaves are infected, pick them off and remove them away (Burn or otherwise dispose of. Do not put in compost heap). If it is spider mite, that will remove a lot of them.
  • Is there an easy way to spot a spider mite (I'll look it up on the internet too) ? Will start the trimming this afternoon.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,871
    edited February 2020
    Use the fertiliser carefully in amounts according to the directions ... too much can be as harmful as too little. 
    Good luck 😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thanks!  I'm following instructions (1/2 cap per 2 gallons of water) and doing that every day.  Should I just do that for a week or longer ?

    Here is the trimmed version.   I can't top it very well (insufficient ladder) but I filled two bins with trimming so quite a bit.  I got about 3 feet off the top.   There were no spider mites (I looked over 30+ leaves).

    I think I'll let this go for 4-6 weeks and report back.
  • 2+ weeks later (regular watering and fertilizer).   There is an area of normal looking Brugmansia near the bottom though the top 2/3 still looks sparse.  Any thoughts ?
  • bill168bill168 Posts: 9
    Hi All

    Well the sun is higher but the Angel's Trumpet is not much better.  Similar growth on the bottom so I'm thinking it does need to be trimmed to 6 feet as mentioned though it is painful to do it.  Each week I hope but I'm hitting a point where I tend to agree.   Any other views ? Also trying to figure out how far to cut it down (i.e. do you leave a V or ??)
Sign In or Register to comment.