of the leaves on my brugmansias are crinkly and distorted. Another
one nearby is growing well and flowering, no problem. Can you help?
MOST likely reason is damage to the emerging leaves, probably caused
by mites. The two-spotted mite - sometimes referred to as spider
mite - is a common pest on brugmansias, particularly in hot, dry
It's possible mites
damaged the bud last season and you're only now seeing the effect
as the leaves grow.
spotted mites are so small you can barely see them with the naked
eye. They suck sap from the leaves and lay eggs on the undersides.
With a heavy infestation, you'll sometimes see fine webbing on the
shoot tips with mites crawling around on it, but this is more common
in greenhouses than outdoors.
Mites can be difficult
to control with sprays. My advice is to prune away the affected
shoots and burn them or dispose in the rubbish. Fertilise the plant
and water if necessary to encourage strong growth - a vigorous brugmansia
will still grow and flower quite happily with some mites on it.
If you do decide to spray,
use a product like Mite Killer or Guardall.
With some plants a thorough
spray in winter with oil (such as Conqueror or Clear White Oil)
is useful for killing eggs as well as any overwintering adults on
However, I suspect winter-oil
sprays may just damage brugmansias so do a small trial first, on
say just one branch, before going ahead and spraying the whole lot.
Gardener, Issue 140, 2004, Page 27
Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.