By Paul A. Thomas
University of Georgia
Cuttings are best taken in June and July. The trick is to take cuttings from branched stems.
Straight stems will lead to tall plants that bloom late in the summer -- maybe. Branched stems are "mature" and will bloom a few weeks after you establish them in the garden.
Root cuttingsYou can root cuttings in a mix of peat and sand kept moist. Or, place 4-inch to 6-inch stems in a glass of water, just as you would an African violet leaf.
They root rather fast. Even large stems can be rooted in 5-gallon buckets. Once you've transplanted them to pots or the garden, they'll need a few weeks of shade to develop extensive roots. Slowly expose them to more sun, and your brugmansias will be poised to take off.
Seeds, though, are another matter.
Remember that like most plants, seedlings will vary from the adult. Brugmansia seeds are weird-looking things, similar to a flat bark chip. Pealing off the brown covering speeds germination but requires a bit of skill.
Be carefulWear gloves when you do this, or at least wash your hands right after processing the seeds. Both brugmansias and daturas are poisonous if eaten, especially the seeds and leaves. Handling the plant isn't dangerous in itself.
Daturas germinate slowly and irregularly, and you'll need patience. Both species require warm, moist soil conditions to germinate. It will take at least one summer season, and sometimes longer, to see the first flowers.
To learn more about brugmansias and daturas, visit the American Brugmansia and Datura Society Web site (www.abads.net).
(Paul Thomas is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)