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Datura / Brugmansia - Care Guide
Datura - Care Guide
Outside the very mildest locations in southern coastal areas these are summer patio plants or, more usually, conservatory or greenhouse plants grown in large containers. They are grown primarily for their huge and exotic tubular or trumpet shaped flowers which can easily be 10-12in long in an established plant. At Ventnor Garden in the Isle of Wight clumps achieve heights of 10ft or more growing outside and the flowers of all species go on from summer into autumn. We have successfully grown these plants in the Burncoose conservatory (but never outside) where they eventually become enormous and unmanageable. However they do not mind a hard pruning and will readily reshoot. Pruning may become necessary due to whitefly or serious red spider mite infestations which damage the leaves and make the plants unsightly. It is therefore an idea to grow them in large pots and put them outside for the summer if problems like this arise under glass.
Datura are greedy plants which respond well to a monthly feed with a liquid fertiliser. They grow best in a loam based potting compost and should be kept on the dry side over winter when they may lose some or all of the leaves on their stems. All parts of Datura are toxic if eaten.
New growth cuttings root quickly and easily in early summer with bottom heat.
We normally offer four different species:
B. arborea has trumpet shaped white scented flowers and is native to Ecuador and Chile.
B. sanguinea has orange-red trumpets with yellow veining (no scent) and comes from Chile North to Columbia.
B. suaveolens is, we find, the easiest to grow although it comes from Brazil. The trumpets are white but there are yellow and pink forms sometimes available. Very hairy leaves and scented only at night.
B. versicolor has white flowers fading to orange or pink. Ecuador.