Friday, August 28, 2009

Better late than never

Late last summer I bought a second Datura to plant in a bare spot created by my Acanthus fading from the August sun and heat. I knew the Datura would die in the approaching winter months but didn’t care. It was on sale ridiculously cheap and was just the sort of perky plant with a few blooms that would chase away the August blues.

Eventually the flowers faded and the seed pods appeared. Since I don’t have a photo of those seed pods I stopped by the amazing Datura I found a few weeks ago, luckily it had a few pods. Aren’t they fabulous!?
Since we were without a dog at the time (the seeds are poisonous) I let the pods brake open and drop their contents on the ground, hoping that spring would bring multiple Datura seedlings. Naturally nothing happened. Even in a normal winter I believe our climate is too cold for this plant, or its seeds, to winter over. With last winters extremes those little seeds didn’t stand a chance.

The fading Acanthus happened again this year. The temperature was record-setting high for over a week and the foliage wilted, turned yellow, and the plant went from size XL to XS, keeping just the new growth and the bloom spikes. I’ve read that it’s normal in hotter climates for Acanthus to go completely dormant in high summer. Well, it looks like those Datura seeds were lying there, shaded by the Acanthus leaves, waiting for the leaves to die so the hot sun could bake them to life. I now have 4 of what I think are Datura seedlings coming up. I've circled them in orange below...
It’s too late in the season for them to amount to anything this year, but I wonder if I can gently tease them from the ground and over-winter them inside? Then come spring they will be big and strong and ready to be planted in the ground. What do you think?

(BTW the photo at top is the only bloom on this year's Datura, it lasted days but I only got around to photographing it as is was vanishing, still beautiful! And I will definitely be back to gather seeds from that sidewalk Datura)


  1. My Datura bloomed last week and I missed it! The seed pod is cool though!

  2. I'd definitely try to overwinter Datura seedlings by lifting and potting them up. It has not survived here in the ground.

    DG, I've been memed by Sarah and Helen of torontogardens, and I would love to pass the award along to you! I do hope you will accept. First I must reveal 7 things about myself - I won't have time to write the post for a few days, at least. If you'd like to email me, there's a link on my blog. Have a great weekend! Alice

  3. I've never grown datura, good luck overwintering it. I have a poor track record with overwintering, our garage is too cold and our basement too warm (and I forget to water). Oh, well!

  4. Hi DG~~ I've wintered Brugmansia by a warm window. The one problem: spider mites--nothing a routine inspection can't remedy, but still something to be aware of. I hope you'll let us know how it goes. I learned something new today. :]

  5. At least you got a bloom. I didn't manage to get one this year, and some sort of bug has started feasting on the foliage. The seed pods are wonderful, I would grow it just for those, if only I could get it that far along.

  6. If the overwintering doesn't work out, I have had good results starting them from seed in the early spring.

  7. It's official! You've been tagged for a Meme Award,

    Do drop by to pick it up,

    Cheers, Alice

  8. Wicked Gardener, don't you hate that! How dare they put on the display when you are away!

    BATGT, really? For some reason I thought they did winter over in SF. So sad! Congrats on the award! I was away this weekend and haven't had a chance to respond. I will email you tonight!

    VW, I grew one (my first) in Spokane on my patio. I think I bought it at Hangmen Creek nursery (years ago!) They are fabulous plants and worth the effort even if you only grow them as an annual.

    Grace, thanks for the encouraging words. I guess I really have nothing to loose by trying!

    Megan, I noticed tonight that my 1 bloom is starting to form a pod, yea! I'll share some seeds with you.

    Ricki, do you buy your seed or get it from one of your plants?

    BATGT, Thank you!


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