What's the trick to germinating Datura?

mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)January 23, 2012

I've tried to germinate Datura seeds a few times in the past with no luck, even with scarifying. Those of you who are successful with this one - what's the secret?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the link says this.. and then continues on:

This plant likes it hot; if you've been successful growing peppers or eggplants, you know how to grow this plant. Daturas like rich soil and full sun. To help with seed germination, do a warm water soak. Fill a thermos (one dedicated to seed germination, not for food!) with hot water (from the tap is fine). Put the seeds in to soak for 24 hours. Change the water for clean hot water every 6 hours. I usually then wet a paper towel with a mixture of water and liquid kelp solution, wring it out, sprinkle the seed over it, and fold it closed, pressing gently to ensure good contact between the seeds and the paper towel. I put it in a cheap baggie (thin plastic), leaving the top open. Put that on a heating pad set on low or anywhere you have low heat. Lots of people use the top of a water heater, although a lot of them are so wel insulation these days that this doesn't work. Of course, you can always use a propagation mat.:) Check daily for germination, which you can see by holding up the baggie to the light.

sounds poisonous .. good luck

otherwise no personal experience ... seems that heat is the key ...


ps: seems you might not want to contaminate a thermos.. so how about filling it halfway with some hot water.. and then inserting a baggie.. and insert the seeds and more hot water into the bag and filling the thermos .... PRESUMING the baggie will hold the poison out/in ..

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 1:19PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Hmmm, well, tried the soaking before too - didn't work, although I just used water, didn't use any kelp.

I'm very successful at heat lovers and easily germinate eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cuke, etc. so temp wouldn't seem to be the problem.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 1:51PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you said you used water.. the article said warm/hot water.. maintained at heat ??? hence the thermos ...

i wonder if knicking them.. like morning glory .... might help ... i found that an emery board was easier than trying to use a blade on a hard coat ...


    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 4:25PM
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mxk3(Zone 6 SE MI)

Yep, did that too - mentioned the scarification in original post...

I know I can buy them in the spring, but I was hoping to get them going myself so I can grow them on into larger plants before setting out - like you mentioned, they really like the heat and sometimes take a bit to really start putting out growth once planted. Plus, I just like to grow things :0)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:07AM
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Do you know what species of Datura you are trying to germinate?

I grow Datura wrightii, which is perennial to zone 7 (maybe 6 if protected). Doesn't need rich soil since it is a native and outside of its hardiness range, it will reseed.

I have also grown the more tropical Daturas (meteloides), yellow and purple flowering annuals.

For both, I just direct sow, or plant outside in a nice-sized pot, up to a gallon size, and transplant in the garden or pot up to a larger size as it grows.

I have never treated these seeds in any special way and they seem to germinate just fine thru virtual benign neglect, other than watering when the medium becomes dry in the early stages of growth. Mature plants are pretty xeric.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 6:19AM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

I have started purchased seed and my own saved seed with no special treatments or extra heat over my normal 70 degrees. Very high percentage germinate. Purchased seed from local Baker Creek seed outlet. Al

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 9:59AM
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I grew Datura ("Purple Ballerina") last year and had good germination, starting seeds under fluorescent lights at about 70F and covering them to their thickness using a sterile soilless mix. I've also grown D. wrightii much the same way, also with good germination.

If there's a problem, maybe it's the soil mix promoting damping off, or poor quality seeds.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:40PM
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I am a bit surprised that anyone finds these hard to germinate. I wintersowed mine, no trouble at all. I admit, I was skeptical they would germinate, because I've read they need warm temps and I am in zone 5 NY. But datura are highly poisonous, I don't dare start them indoors with my 3 curious cats. I figured, I'll give it a try and see if they germinate. They germinated well, the plants grew big and the flowers were pretty, a double white with purple edge. Also a strong fragrance. But, as I mentioned, highly poisonous, if you have pets or small children, I would avoid this plant. I needed something poisonous because that is about all that the woodchucks won't eat.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 12:08PM
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here in the Dominican Republic during August it is 32c 82f. My Datura seeds took 3 weeks to germinate even at that temperature.I think then it is a combination of heat and needing to be kept wet to soften the outer layer of the seed. They are now about 3" high and ive found white fly on two of them so im going to spray with a systemic insecticide.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:01AM
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doubleAmom(SWPA 5/6)

I winter sowed mine and got this giant. There's actually 3 plants there but two of them are very small and don't show up in the picture since they're hidden below the giant. All 3 have been flowering profusely and I just harvested my first 2 seed pods this morning!! I didn't seem to have any trouble with germination but did have trouble keeping the seedlings alive. The first to germinate got hit with a frost and died but the second group did just find. I was only able to put this group in the ground and they seem very happy!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 3:22PM
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Here in Z6 (20 miles north of Boston on the NH border), my datura typically re-seed without my doing anything to help them along. There's a thick layer of mulch where they grow and it stays very moist. Last winter was uncharacteristically mild and the largest plant never died.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 2:44AM
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