Datura or Brugmansia are Super Flowering Plants But They Are Poisonous

Datura and Brugmansia are very heavily flowering plants that has received a fair bit of press for their hallucinogenic properties

What's The Difference

The flowering difference is that Datura have mostly erect or slightly pendulous flowers, straight out or slightly hanging down.

While Brugmansia have mostly pendulous to slightly pendulous flowers - mostly hanging down.

Are They Poisonous?

You betcha.

The leaves, flowers and seeds all contain an alkaloid and are considered to be toxic.

While some folks have used it as a hallucinogenic, the difficulty with this rests with the plant. In rich soils, the plant will not concentrate the alkaloid heavily. In poor soils (like any herb) the concentration of alkaloids increases. This means that while a batch of seed may give a "high" from one plant, a batch from another plant will simply kill.

I have always worn gloves when pulling out the dead stalks in the fall.

Why Grow Them Then?

Well, there's no doubt that while they are poisonous - they are also gorgeous plants.


Datura 'Double Cream'

And frankly, if we eliminated every plant in the wild and our gardens that was poisonous, we'd be hard-pressed to accomplish it. Many of our common garden plants are toxic but don't have that reputation.

Having said that, this is not a plant for a garden where small children roam

And the fragrance is quite heavy and will perfume an entire garden on a still evening.


Not reliably hardy in areas that get frost. Named varieties will have to be overwintered in frost free conditions.

Datura Propagation

The seed is easily grown if kept at 70F soil temperature until it germinates.

And many of the plants will self-sow in the garden although the fancier hybrids may not come true (as with all hybrids) And the common ones become quite a weed if left unchecked/unweeded.

They are also very easily propagated from cuttings.

Brugmansia Propagation

I've always done mine by cuttings from overwintered plants. In my zone 4 garden, the mother plants always die if left outside so they have to be brought in, overwintered in large pots in full sunlight. Any straggly shoots are pruned off in the spring (these can be rooted) and the plant is put outside again after all danger of frost.

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How To Grow

Put in sun or part shade in moderately fertile soil.

They do appreciate decent drainage and tend to rot in standing water or clay soils. This may be why they are commonly found growing wild on the banks of ditches. The roots can reach for water but the crowns like to stay dryish.

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