It is a genus that includes about a dozen species of herbaceous plants, perennials, originating from central-northern America and probably from Asia; once the genus counted many more species, but was subdivided into datura and brugmansia; in the second case they are shrubs. The dature develop medium-sized plants, up to 100-120 cm high, very branched; they have large gray-greenish, dark leaves. From late spring to the frosts they produce large trumpet flowers, often scented, facing upwards. There are various colors, thanks to the hybridisers, from yellow to red, from white to purple, sometimes even double or with curled petals. Datura plants are toxic in all their parts; they were once used for magic rites or to induce hallucinations, constantly risking the safety of those who ingested any part of them.
These plants are grown in apartment because they fear the cold, in a luminous, even sunny place. In places with mild winters they can also be grown outdoors, although they tend to lose their leaves during the cold season, and often the plant tends to weaken over the years. It is therefore advisable to cultivate them as annuals if you decide to place them outdoors, or to plant them in containers that can be collected in a sheltered place as winter approaches. If you want to get a shrub with flowers so spectacular in the garden it is suggested to orientate towards the brugmansie, generally more resistant; they have flowers very similar to datura, but pendulous.
For the correct development of the plants belonging to this variety it is good to water regularly but without excesses, always waiting for the soil to dry perfectly between one watering and another; these plants tolerate drought without problems and instead suffer from an excess of humidity, or worse, the formation of water stagnation that can irreparably compromise their beauty, causing serious root rot.
The datura are grown in a good soil, slightly acid, soft and well drained, rich in organic matter. To obtain a good draining power it is advisable to prepare a peat and sand mixture that forms the substrate suitable for growing in pots for this particular plant. In the case of mild and temperate climate, some varieties of this genus can be grown in the open ground, even if, in the colder period, it is necessary to foresee the mulching of the soil to avoid that the root apparatus suffers from the lowering of temperature.
The multiplication of these plants usually occurs by seed, in spring, or by cuttings; the seeds of the hybrid species generally do not produce flowers identical to those of the mother plant.
The plants should be sown directly at the place of cultivation because this variety does not like transplants and could suffer massively.
Datura: Pests and diseases
These plants are hardly affected by pests or diseases. However, it is good to carefully check that the soil used allows proper drainage, because stagnation can lead to radical rot that, if not quickly counteracted, can lead to the death of the plant.