A member of the poisonous nightshade family, datura (Datura inoxia) produces large, usually white, trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers that bloom at night. It grows into a shrubby, vine-like plant that can spread several feet under ideal conditions. Although it is perennial in tropical areas, it is grown as an annual in temperate zones. Datura produces a thorny seedpod, which is the basis for one of its common names, “thorn apple.” It was used as a hallucinogenic by ancient cultures in religious rituals.
Prepare a spot in full sun with any type of soil, as long as it is well-drained. It is not necessary to add soil amendments; datura grows well in even the poorest quality soil.
Turn over the top 6 to 8 inches of soil with a garden shovel. This will make it easier for the roots to penetrate, and the seedlings will get off to a good start.
Rake the seedbed smooth with a metal garden rake.
Scatter datura seeds on the surface of the soil with your hand, broadcasting them evenly in the bed.
Sprinkle additional soil on top of the newly sown datura seeds to a depth of approximately 1/8 inch. Gently firm the surface with your hands to ensure the seed is in good contact.
Mist the seedbed with a hose-end sprayer set to the finest mist. Check the seedbed daily and mist as needed to keep it moist until the seeds germinate in about 14 to 28 days.
Thin seedlings to stand 12 to 18 inches apart when they are about 3 inches high.