Desert Trumpet Plant Info: Information About Desert Trumpet Wildflowers

Desert Trumpet Plant Info: Information About Desert Trumpet Wildflowers

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What is a desert trumpet? Also known as Native American pipeweed or bottlebush, desert trumpet wildflowers (Eriogonum inflatum) are native to the arid climates of the western and southwestern United States. Desert trumpet wildflowers have developed interesting adaptations that distinguish them from other plants and allow them to survive in punishing environments. Keep reading for more desert trumpet plant info, including desert trumpet growing conditions.

Desert Trumpet Plant Info

Each desert trumpet plant displays a few spindly, nearly leafless, greyish-green stems (or sometimes a single stem). The upright stems rise above basal rosettes of crinkly, spoon-shaped leaves. Each stem has an odd-looking inflated area (thus the alternative name “bladder stem”).

For many years, experts believed the inflated area – which measures about an inch in diameter – is the result of an irritation caused by a larva that burrows in the stem. However, botanists now believe the swollen area holds carbon dioxide, which benefits the plant in the process of photosynthesis.

Just above the inflated area, the stems branch out. Following summer rainfall, the branches display clusters of small, yellow flowers at the nodes. The plant’s long taproot provides moisture for several seasons, but the stem eventually turns from green to reddish brown, then to pale yellow. At this point, the dry stems remain upright for several years.

The seeds provide forage for birds and small desert animals, and the dried stems offer shelter. The plant is pollinated by bees.

Desert Trumpet Growing Conditions

Desert trumpet wildflowers grow in low elevations in deserts, primarily on well-drained sandy, gravelly or rocky slopes. Desert trumpet tolerates heavy, alkaline soil.

Can You Grow Desert Trumpets?

You can grow desert trumpet wildflowers if you live in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 10 and you can provide plenty of sunlight and well-drained, gritty soil. However, seeds are difficult to find, but nurseries that specialize in native plants may be able to provide information. If you live near wild plants, you can try to harvest a few seeds from existing plants, but be sure not to over harvest this important desert wildflower.

Plant the seeds in sandy compost, preferably in a greenhouse or warm, protected environment. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots and keep them in the warm environment for their first winter, then plant them outdoors in spring or early summer, after all frost danger has passed. Handle the plants carefully because the long taproot doesn’t like to be disturbed.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Delightful Angel’s Trumpet

Is it the delicious fragrance or the positively tropical pendulous blooms that make Angel’s Trumpet flowers so hard to resist? Could be both! This stunning shrub is treasured the world over for its trumpet-like blooms and stunning scent. Read on to learn how to grow it in your own space.


The Specifics

Angel's trumpets ( Brugmansia sp.) are sun-loving, fast-growing plants. In the Lower South, they appreciate light afternoon shade, while in the Middle and Upper South, they welcome all of summer's warmth. Angel's trumpets need well-drained soil when growing one in a pot, make sure the container has a large hole in the bottom to allow easy water passage. The growth rate is rapid, so plenty of water and fertilizer are necessary to keep these plants vigorous and blooming.

If planted in containers, angel's trumpets require daily watering. But resist the temptation to keep the pot in a saucer of water--although moisture is vital, soggy soil is not what this plant likes. Brugmansias are heavy feeders, and a liquid, blossom-boosting fertilizer such as 15-30-15 or 10-50-10 keeps them producing flowers. Water with plant food at least every other week, or more often if you'd like. Remember, you can't feed these plants too much, especially those in containers.

Coarsely textured, large leaves complement the enormous blooms. Wind can cause problems for the broad foliage and elongated flowers, so choose a protected location when possible. The show is spectacular, so be sure to place your plant in a prominent spot on or near a deck, terrace, or entryway.

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Desert Trumpet Growing Conditions - Can You Grow Desert Trumpets In Gardens - garden

You're growing a fast growing, flowering vine with a trumpet shape that's attracting hummingbirds in big numbers. Everyone who see it in your yard, calls it by a different name. Most commonly the word "trumpet" is in the name. It's understandable if you are a little confused about exactly what to call it. We will help to take a little of the confusion out. just a little.

Trumpet flowers are also sometimes called "Cow Itch". As member of the nightshade family, the leaves have a toxic substance that can cause itching and a rash.

There are two types of Trumpet Flower or Trumpet Flower Vines:

The first is Trumpet Creeper (Campsis Radicans). It can grow 30-40 feet in a season, with a trunk several inches across. It's three inch blooms appear in the summer, earlier in the south. Colors range from yellow and yellow orange to red. This plant is native to the U.S. Gulf Coast and southeastern U.S.

A close relative is the Cross Vine (Bignonia Capriolata). Cross Vine is also commonly called Trumpet Flower, or Trumpet Vine. Cross vines grow shorter vines. The flowers are smaller, growing two to three inches. It blooms early in the spring, and helps to attract returning hummingbirds to your yard for the season. Cross Vines are native to a large area of the U.S. from the mid atlantic states and south to Florida, and west to mid-western states.

At this point, some of you may be thinking "My Trumpet Flower is a bush or a tree." In that case, you are growing Angel Trumpet Flowers, also called Brugmansia.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the bright blooms.

As a flowering vine, they need some type of support to climb. In the wild, they grow up tree trunks. They will look good growing in this manner in naturalized settings. A trellis or fence works well, too. Fences are more popular, as it provides longer length to run the vines. The support should be big enough to support vine growth of up to 30-40 feet, depending upon what trumpet flower variety you are growing.

Plants can be invasive. Growing methods are the same for both types of Trumpet Flower Vines.

Trumpet Flower Vine are grown from seeds. Sow seeds directly into your flower garden after all danger of frost has past and the soil has warmed. Plant seeds 1/4" deep.

Vines can also be propagated by digging up and replanting suckers.

Trumpet Flower Vine is easy to grow. They prefer full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Plants like a rich soil to fuel their fast growth. Mix a healthy dose of compost into the soil prior to planting.

Plants like a lot of water and nutrients. Keep soil moist. Add general purpose fertilizer when planting, and every two to three weeks during the season. Switch to a high phosphorous formula just before the blooming period.

Trumpet Flower Vine needs some form of support to climb up. Trellises or fences work well.

Keep the areas weeded when plants are young. A layer of mulch will keep weeds down, and create a neat appearance.

Trumpet Flower Vine can be invasive. They are good "re-seeders". If the pods are allowed to open and pour out their seeds, you will find many new plants next year. Do not disturb the soil until seedlings have begun to grow. Thinning will almost certainly be needed. If you don't want them to spread too rapidly, pick seed pods as they appear.


My Top Angel’s Trumpet Varieties

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Below I have listed some of the most attractive varieties, although this is difficult as they’re all pretty outstanding. Have a look for yourself and find your perfect variety!

B “Grand Marnier” – A lovely large, robust shrub with evergreen oval leaves. Its large yellow-to-peach trumpet-shaped flowers are flared at the bottom. This heavenly scented variety can grow to 3 meters in height and width, and tolerates a minimum temperature of 45-50 degrees F.

B sanguinea, bicolor – This semi-evergeen shrub has a more erect, rounded form with lobed leaves. The odorless flowers are thinner than the variety above, but what they lose in width they make up with color. Their long, yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers are slightly fluted and etched with deep orange-red. Long-billed hummingbirds love to pollinate this plant. This shrub will grow up to 4 meters in height and width, and tolerates a minimum temperature of 50 degrees F.

B suavolens “Flamenco” – Smaller and simply perfect as a patio plant, this semi-evergreen variety grows to around 2 metres in height and width. Its plentiful, pendulous, candy-pink trumpet-shaped flowers are well scented and bloom repeatedly throughout the summer. Fully hardy in Zones 8-10, but small enough to bring inside to over-winter should you need to.

B vulcanicola – this is a rare variety, with shiny, lobed, deep green leaves. Its strikingly beautiful tubular, fluted, hanging flowers come in shades of red, yellow, and pink. Although these flowers are shorter and smaller than the other varieties, it’s their contrasting flame colors and bright yellow insides that grab me! A truly Eden-like tropical plant with an erect and open habit. Tolerant of temperatures in zones 8-10 and grows to a height and width of around 3.5 meters.


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