Datura

Datura meteloides

A family of exotic shrubby perennials, grown either as indoor plants in the UK or outdoors as half-hardy annuals. The large attractive trumpet-shaped flowers are robust and highly scented.

Family: Solanaceae (nightshade)
Botanical Name: Datura
Common Names: Angel's trumpet, Indian-apple, downy thorn apple, prickly burr, locoweed.

Foliage: Simple, large, coarse grey/green leaves.

Flowers: Large trumpet-shaped flowers that provide a strong fragrance in the evening.

Flowering Period: Mid-summer to early autumn.

Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam).

Conditions: Best in full sun. Grow in an east, west or south facing aspect, in a sheltered position.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Tuberous-rooted tender perennial or half-hardy annual.

Origin: Mexico

Toxicity: All parts of this plant are highly poisonous. Wear gloves when handing.

Hardiness: Half-hardy (tender) in the UK. Protect from frost.

Planting and Growing Datura

Plant in a rich fertile soil, in a sunny, sheltered site. Grow pot plants in a good potting compost.

Ideal as tub and container grown plants in the greenhouse, conservatory or on a sunny patio in summer. They can be grown outside in summer in any fertile garden soil, so long as the site is sunny and sheltered.

Despite their exotic appearance they are relatively tough and adapt well to English weather.

Taking Care of Datura

Water regularly in dry conditions and water container grown plants daily.

To improve flowering, apply an all-purpose flowering plant food (slightly higher in phosphorus and potassium) every few weeks, or use a slow release form. Do not over fertilize.

Bring perennial plants inside under protection before the first frosts in Autumn. Discard annuals at the end of the flowering season.

Pruning

Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free.

Propagating Datura

Sow seed under-glass in early spring, at a temperature of 16°C (61°F). Once the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick off and pot on. Harden off before planting outside once all danger of frost is past.

Popular Varieties of Datura

Datura innoxia (Datura meteloides) a bushy plant that bears grey/green, hairy leaves. The sweetly scented erect, creamy white or white pink-flushed flowers, are 6in (15cm) or so long. Height from 2 to 4ft (60 to 120cm) The variety 'Evening Fragrance' has larger, strongly scented white flowers, with a soft lavender picotee edge. Seeds available at Thompson & Morgan.

Datura metel a short-lived, shrubby, tender perennial. Cultivars include:

  • 'Double Blackcurrant Swirl' large, double frilled flowers of blackcurrant and lilac-mauve. Height to 5ft (140cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Double Golden Queen' large double, frilled flowers of canary yellow. Height to 5ft (140cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Datura stramonium a low growing bushy, tender annual with large, toothed, oval leaves and white, trumpet-shaped flowers, often flushed purple. The variety 'La Fleur Lilac' is quick to flower with blue-lilac trumpet blooms. Height: 12-18in (30-45cm). For sale at Thompson & Morgan.

Related Plants

Brugmansia suaveolens (angel's trumpet, angel's tears) although classified as a separate genus, it is often sold under the name Datura in garden centres. A vigorous semi-evergreen tender shrub or small tree. The fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers are similar to Datura but are thinner and longer (up to 10in (25cm)) and hang downwards (pendulous). Available in shades of white, yellow, peach or pink. Makes a very impressive conservatory specimen. Tall forms will need support. Available at Thompson & Morgan.