Datura: Angel’s trumpet
Height 60-90cm (2-3ft)
Planting distance 60-75cm (2 – 2-1/2ft)
Flowers mid summer to early autumn
Sunny, sheltered site
Angel’s trumpet could be a mis-nomer, for these exotic plants are poisonous in all their parts. But in spite of this and their frost tender-ness, they produce an impressive show of trumpet-shapedwith a strong fragrance that is headiest in the evening.
Daturas are technically shrubby perennials but are usually grown as half-hardy annuals, in mixed borders and bedding schemes. They are ideal as pot and container plants and can be grown in the greenhouse or conservatory in poor summers.
Datura metel grows 60cm (2ft) or more high. It forms a shrubby plant with red stems set with ovate, dark green leaves. The flowers, 20cm (8in) long, are creamy-white and held erect; pink and purple varieties also exist, and ‘Flore Pleno’ bears double flowers.
Datura meteloides, a bushy plant, reaches a height of 90cm (3ft) and bears grey and hairy leaves with a pungent aroma. The upright, white or pink-flushed flowers, 15cm (6in) long, are sweetly scented. The variety ‘Evening Fragrance’ has larger, more strongly scented flowers of pure white, the picotee edges picked out in lavender.
Sow seeds under glass in early spring, at a temperature of 16°C (61°F). When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them off into small pots of potting compost and grow on. Harden off the young plants in a cold frame before setting them out when all danger of frost is past.
In the open garden, daturas grow in any fertile garden soil, in a sunny and sheltered position. Grow pot plants in a proprietary compost.
Pests and diseases