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PAL Questions: 1 - Garden Tools:
I have a purple Datura that I grew from seed. Do you have any suggestions on how best to overwinter this plant? Basically I have found some contradictory information online but some of it suggests cutting down this year's stalk (which seems a little drastic but I make no claims of being an expert). Any information you might have would be most appreciated.
Do you know for certain which genus and species your plant is? It sounds like it could be Datura metel, which is grown as an annual. Datura blossoms point up or outward, while Brugmansia is shrubby, and its flowers hang downward. Some Brugmansias will overwinter in the Seattle area and are semi-evergreen or evergreen. Others may die back to the ground and come back in the spring. They are longer-lived than Datura. Datura is more likely to act like a perennial or annual.
If you are growing an annual Datura, the best thing to do is save seed from the fruit capsules in summer. Exceptions are Datura wrightii and Datura inoxia, which can overwinter. In warmer winter climates, these can be covered in the fall with twigs, straw, or pine needles. Growth may resume in March or April. In colder winter climates, you would need to overwinter the fleshy rhizomes in a container, covering them with earth. Keep the container in a cool, dark garage or cellar. Expose the rhizomes to temperatures of 53-64 degrees and daylight beginning in March. This is much more difficult than simply planting new seed each year, but plants which sprout from rhizomes grow faster and flower better. (Source: Brugmansia and Datura by Ulrike and Hans-Georg Preissel; Firefly Books, 2002)
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July 29 2016 16:04:17