Brugmansia Cuttings
What Do I Cut?
First Y and flower bud The sure sign of immature wood will be straight up, vertical growth, with no lateral growth or branches. This is called the Juvenile Stage. 
A cutting taken from such wood will take its own sweet time to reach the mature,
FLORESCENT (flowering) stage. Seedlings continue growing straight up and can reach heights of several feet before the wood matures and develops the lateral branching Y signaling the beginning of FLORESCENCE. Cuttings taken from the mature growth normally produce plants that flower in less than a year
It is common to see huge flowers, up to 24" (depending on the species), awkwardly dangling from plants that are only a few inches tall! Sunray
tinybud.jpg (65430 bytes)
Pre-Roots, Nubbies, Little White Bumps and Lenticels!
bumpy texture Before you make your cuts, examine the texture of the Brugmansia stem you want to take the cutting from.  Look for what are lovingly referred to as: pre-roots, nubbies, little white bumps  and LENTICELS..  Many of the more difficult to root Brugmansia species and their hybrids, and all new-growth wood from any B. species, are smooth and lack these obvious bumps!
The Cut!

4-6 inch long cuttings are normally used. Any length or diameter can be rooted, from scrawny little woody twig to baseball bat and larger.  

Sterilize your pruners or knife to the best of your abilities. Make your cut above or below a NODE which is simply the joint where new branches, leaves and flowers grow from.
You can root the portions above the top two lines and they will produce cuttings that flower quickly. The portion between the green lines may or may not flower quickly. The portion below the bottom green line will have to develop new Y lateral growth to begin the FLORESCENT stage once again.


..............Now What?

Remove all but the smallest, new growth leaves so that your cutting can concentrate on root formation and not have to suffer the struggle to keep those heavy,  no longer needed, leaves alive.

cutting stripped of all but newest growth
Water Rooting

The White spots will become future roots

The easiest way to root Brugmansia is to simply put the cuttings in a glass container, such as an ordinary drinking glass, and fill the container  3"-4" with ordinary room-temp tap water. Place the cuttings in the glass without overcrowding them. For those giant cuttings (length or diameter), you can use a bucket.

Never let the water get overly cold which happens in air-conditioned environments and when cutting are placed next to a window during the cold months. Never let the water get overly warm because your cuttings might cook and turn to mush. Fewer problems are encountered when cuttings are taken in June and July and water-rooted outside in a warm semi shady-shady environment.
Never let the water get old. The water should not be allowed to get cloudy, nor should it be a home for strange, wriggly critters. Refresh the water frequently.

Within a few short days you should see the
bumps begin to pooch out (swell) and turn lighter in color. Some growers go ahead and pot the cuttings at this stage with great success. Others wait so long that the cuttings develop complex and interesting looking "root-beards", several inches long.  These roots can be severely trimmed with no visible trauma to the cutting or plant. 

wait for the little white bumps to swell

Note: If your cutting begins to rot in water, salvage what you can by cutting the mushy part off (back to firm wood) and try a soil-rooting method. 

Water rooting
Stinky waits for roots!
Soil Rooting and Potting Brugmansia Cuttings
container filled with sterile soil

Soil Rooting

To soil root Brugmansia cuttings, follow the same instructions for water rooting ... except use soil!

Plant rooted or unrooted cutting in a container filled with sterile, well drained soil. Make a hole in the soil to match the size of the cutting's new root system. Completely cover the roots with soil and gently firm the soil around the base of the cutting. Thoroughly soak the the soil with water. Replace any soil that settled after you watered. Better too dry, than too wet! Keep the soil damp but not soggy. Too much water can kill Brugmansia cuttings.

Place the newly planted cutting in dappled shade (under a tree) for its first  few weeks and do not feed it. When you see signs of new growth on your cutting it's time to begin feeding it lightly and time to adjust  it to more direct sunlight. At 4-6 weeks old your new plant should be fully adjusted to its new independent life. It is ready to be transplanted into a larger container if you started with a small 3 to 4" container.

None Of These Rooting Methods Seem To Work?

If you still have problems rooting certain Brugmansia cuttings you might consider the Air Layering method. You might also try rooting compounds such as Indole-3-Butyric Acid (IBA). IBA can help to soil-root and Air layer the smaller, smooth textured, newest growth cuttings, and the smoother woods of species such as B. arborea and B. sanguinea. IBA compounds can be purchased as liquids and powders of various strengths.  Use as directed.

Stressed plants that show obvious nutrition deficiencies, insect infestations, soil borne diseases or virus symptoms should not be used for cuttings.

Brugmansia Trees

Choose the tallest, straightest and strongest stem growing from the soil and get rid of the others. As the stem grows and matures remove lower branches and leaves and continue doing so until the stem Y's . The Y can happen at any height and if you are really lucky your Y growth will begin at eyelevel or above . If it Y's at a much shorter height, you will still be able to create your own version of a tree. 


poke a hole 3-4 inches deep
insert cutting
firm soil
keep in semishade-shade the first week
Other rooting methods

Another common method, that has been used for years by collectors who propagate large diameter cane cuttings of many different genera, is to lay the cutting length wise (horizontally) on top of sterile soil, leaving as many nodes/buds exposed to the sky as possible. Each node/bud is a possible new plant. If your cutting has the infamous little white bumps lightly press the whole length of the large diameter cutting into the soil, deep enough to prevent it from rolling around. For smoother woods and smaller diameters, completely cover the entire stem with soil leaving only the new growth exposed. Keep the soil damp but not soggy (much like leaving them to lay in the compost pile). Brugmansia cuttings with their pre-roots, nubbies, little white bumps and LENTICELS, are especially well designed and well suited for this method.

Note: You can lay those long lengths and large diameter canes horizontally in containers like those used to soak wall paper, filled with water. Or you can fill a 13 gallon or taller trash can with water and stand the cuttings on end, totally submerged. After you see the beginning signs of  pre-roots, nubbies, little white bumps  and LENTICELS, completely bury the cane horizontally, leaving only the buds and nodes exposed. Planted stem tip to stem tip - - -, a row of these rooted canes that  have several new growth stems on each one and that produce "similar in size and shape" flowers of various colors, would make a beautiful hedge. 
Two different canes planted side by side
=  would make a beautiful stand-alone shrub/focal point, but you should choose brugs that have similar flowering periods.

Air layer & other rooting methods

How to root Brugmansia arborea species

How can I tell which end is the top and which is the bottom? 
lay cutting horizontally
cover stem with soil and firm

More Rooting info here


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Disclaimer: While the information at this Web site is believed to be true and accurate, the American Brugmansia & Datura Society Inc. (ABADS) and the authors cannot accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may have been made. ABADS makes no warranty, expressed or implied with respect to the material contained herein. Copyright of all original Images submitted for public display will be retained by the contributor. The contributor does, however, agree to grant ABADS a non-exclusive license to modify, reproduce, and distribute all images in the manner that it sees fit. You must request written permission from ABADS Board of Directors in order to copy and publish any part of this website.

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