Datura are a group of flowering plants that are grown mostly as herbaceous annuals, though some varieties can be grown as perennials in warmer frost-free climates. They produce large, trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers that range is size from 7 to 10 inches long. Datura is generally planted from seed but care should be exercised when handling leaves, seeds or blossoms of this plant since all parts of this plant are poisonous.
Preparing Datura Seeds
Collect datura seed pods in late summer, through early fall, from August through September. You will know the seed pods are ready to harvest when they turn a light-brown color and begin to split apart.
Remove the seeds from the pods and place them into a jar, or other lidded container. Place the container of datura seeds into a dry, cool area in your home until you can plant them about eight to 10 weeks before the last frost date is expected in your growing region.
Pour hot water into a bowl or heat proof dish. Place the nicked datura seeds into the water and allow them to soak for 24 hours. Change out the water every six hours using hot water.
Planting Datura Seeds
Fill up 3- or 4-inch biodegradable pots with a sterilized soil-less seed compost until each is full to 1/2 inch from the top. Pack the seed compost in each of the pots until it is well compressed.
Set each of the pots into a 2 or 3 inch deep tray. Use a spray bottle to mist the seed compost until it is thoroughly moistened.
Place two or three datura seeds onto the dampened seed compost. To make sure there is good contact between the seeds and the compost, press them into the compost using your fingers or the eraser end of a pencil.
Sprinkle no more than 1/8 inch of the seed compost over each of the datura seeds.
Loosely cover each of the pots with a layer of clear plastic wrap. If you have a plastic bag you can place the entire tray into the bag. Make sure to leave the bag open slightly to allow for ventilation. Use the spray bottle as needed to keep the datura seeds moist. The seeds should never be sitting in completely saturated soil. Germination can be sporadic, taking from two to three weeks to as long as six weeks.
Choose a sun-filled area in your garden for planting the datura. Dig planting holes for the datura seedlings that are between 5 and 8 feet apart, depending on the variety you are growing. Each hole should be the same width and depth as a biodegradable pot.
Set a datura into a previously dug hole. Make sure it's sitting level and straight in the hole. Scoop in soil around the datura until the hole is filled with soil.
Water each of the datura plants with between 1/2 and 1 gallon of water.