Another of the cool-growing brugmansias * has decided to flower. So far there is only a single bloom, but the plant is growing well and is shapely so I have high hopes for it. ‘Neonlight’ is a B. vulcanicola hybrid of German origin, raised by Anne Kirchner-Able that was introduced in 2008. These hybrids are sometimes referred to as B. x vulsa because their ancestry combines B. vulcanicola and B. sanguinea (B. vulcanicola was for many years considered merely a variant of B. sanguinea). Both come from the mountains of Columbia and the red flowers are pollinated by birds. Unlike the warm-growing brugs, the flowers are not scented (birds cannot smell – though anyone who keeps chickens will know they not only do smell but stink! – and bird-pollinated flowers are often red and produce copious nectar).
While most of the other brugs like warmth, these dislike temperatures above 30c (about 80f) and they grow best with a little shade from hot sun and cool nights – so they should do well in Ireland! They can flower (in flushes) through much of the year but we will see how well this does over the coming months.
* The seven species are divided into two groups which are different in appearance and cannot (so far) be hybridised. The cool-growing species are B. sanguinea, B. vulcanicola and B. arborea and are the Sphaerocarpium group. The warm-growers are B. aurea, B. insignis, B. suaveolens and B. versicolor (section Brugmansia). It is these warm-growers that are most often seen and have been most highly hybridised. They have larger flowers and are generally more showy but the cooler types are hardly dull!