Dictionary of Flowers: Datura
(Angel's Trumpet, Devil's Trumpet)

Datura is better known as Angel's Trumpet or Devil's Trumpet. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Thangaraj Kumaravel and Flickr
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Datura is better known as Angel's Trumpet or Devil's Trumpet. Either way, they will make sweet music in your container garden! Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Thangaraj Kumaravel and Flickr

  • Datura
  • Common name: angel's trumpet, devil's trumpet
  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Category: frost sensitive perennial grown as an annual. Root hardy to USDA zone 6
  • Height: 3’ to 5’ 
  • Width: 18" to 48”
  • Sun
  • Blooms: summer to early fall
  • Attracts: sphinx moths, bees
  • Growth habit: rounded, sprawling. Best grown alone in container combinations, underplanted with short fillers and/or spillers
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: fertile, evenly moist, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers.
  • Garden uses: containers, mixed border, feature plant
  • Diseases: generally disease free
  • Pests: whitefly, mealybugs, spider mites

The genus datura includes species and subspecies that grow worldwide in warm and tropical parts of the word.

They are bushy perennials in those zones, but grown as annuals in colder zones.

The dark green leaves are large and the upward facing trumpet shaped blooms can be white, purple, yellow, single and double, even triple.

They open at sundown and remain open till mid-day. 

All of them are fragrant. Do not confuse the wild variety of datura (d. stramonium) with the cultivated varieties (d. metel or d. inoxia).

All parts of datura are poisonous and they can be invasive if allowed to go to seed.

Datura prefers moist, rich soil, though it can grow on poor, rocky or sandy soil. It produces a deep taproot to reach for water in times of drought.

It must be watered daily when grown in pots, especially when placed in full sun.

It's a fast grower that requires weekly or biweekly applications of fertilizer. 

Removing the seed pods (large spiny spheres) before the seeds ripen and the pod cracks open avoids self seeding.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

It can be grown from seed. Best if sown indoors in early spring.

Erratic germination can be improved by soaking seed overnight in a solution of nine parts of water to one of hydrogen peroxide.

Sow seeds 1/8" deep on moist starting mix. Kept at 75F, they can germinate in five to twenty or more days. Once they emerge and start growing, they need to be transplanted into individual pots.

Root-bound datura tends to grow stunted. Start feeding a weak fertilizing solution as soon as a few sets of true leaves appear. Plant outdoors once all danger of frost has passed. 




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Datura is not often bothered by disease. If pest problems appear, treat with insecticide. It is deer resistant and poisonous to humans, cattle and domestic animals.

Popular varieties:

  • Datura metel "Ballerina" series - double flowers on plants that grow up to six feet if planted on the ground. Yellow, white or purple blooms, double
  • Datura metel "Blackcurrant Swirl" - purple and white bi-colored triple blooms. Best grown in part sun
  • Datura metel "Double White Lady" - shorter variety, double white blooms. Good variety for containers

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Datura (Angel's Trumpet, Devil's Trumpet) to the Dictionary of Flowers

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