Retail Trends – Brugmansia
The current trend for brugmansia distribution is offering rooted cuttings in 2 1/2 x 5″, 4″ pots, or basically bare root cuttings with minimal roots. Although these plants may seem like a good deal, they come with problems. Underdeveloped root systems must be allowed to fill their container before they’re transplanted to larger containers. You simply can’t take a cutting with minimal roots, transplant it from a 2 1/2″ pot to a gallon pot and water the heck out of it. It will rot. This is especially true during the summer months, a time when small, barely rooted brugmansia plants historically fail more often than they do at other times during the year.
Cuttings are no better. The worst time of the year for rooting brugmansia cuttings is summertime. You may get nubs and some roots, but when you transfer the cuttings from water to soil, you’re in for the tedious process of transplanting them to tiny pots, dribbling water around the roots, keeping them on the dry side, adding fungicide and trying to make them believe its spring. This is NOT something for the novice grower to attempt.
As I peruse the groups and as I receive requests for help among the novice growers who are fighting the losing battle trying to save their underrooted plants and cuttings, I’m seeing wrong advice all over the place. One poor soul posted a crispy, papery cutting that was as dead as a doornail. The advice? Keep watering it and it will come back from the roots. WHAT???? IT’S DEAD! ITS GONE ON TO THE CHORUS INVISIBLE! The return of Christ almighty won’t resurrect it! So, this poor person continues to water and mourn.
I want to go on record – I can do this here without fear of having my post removed (the benefits of ownership), and assure my long term friends and customers that I will NEVER sell a brugmansia unless its rootbound in a 6″ (gallon) pot and is at least between 16″ to 30″ tall.
Even a plant that size is not a guarantee of 100% success, but at least it doesn’t come with a complementary death certificate ready to be filled out by the customer.
Trading with educated, experienced friends is another matter. They know the risks that come with the small stuff, and they accept that their enthusiasm may end in disaster. Novice customers DON’T know that. Think about it…