Datura Stramonium, how much should I trim it for winter? - Knowledgebase Question

Midland, Texas (Zone 7b)
Question by Doctor_Greenthumb
August 28, 2017
Hello, I've been growing a Datura Stramonium shrub for a few years now.
It was an indoor shrub at one point, but I transplanted it into my front yard in June. My question, is if its safe to trim the plant all the way to the base of it's stem for the cold seasons? I read a couple articles that said trimming too much would kill it off, however these articles failed to mention Datura Stramonium specifically. I just want to make sure that I have all the necessary information, before the first frost.

Thank you in advance, to anyone who can provide me with answers.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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Answer from sooby
August 28, 2017

1

Are you sure you have Datura stramonium, which is usually described as an herbaceous annual rather than a perennial or shrub? See:
https://uswildflowers.com/deta...

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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A comment from DaisyI
August 28, 2017
Weirdly enough, some people grow it as an ornamental (or because they think its a cheap high). Its a tender perennial

In pasture land areas, the govenment highly recommends you pull it lest you kill all your livestock.

A photo would help clear up the mystery.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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A comment from sooby
August 28, 2017
According to Cornell, human poisoning is more common with the plant than livestock poisoning.
http://poisonousplants.ansci.c...
But it's supposed to be an annual, so it would survive several years indoors as a houseplant? Certainly a photo would clarify.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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A comment from sooby
August 28, 2017
Every reference I've looked at says it is an annual even in milder climates. I saw one that said it could be a short-lived perennial. Do you have personal experience or a reference for its being a tender perennial, Daisy?

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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A comment from DaisyI
August 28, 2017
No references, just experience. If it lives more than one season, its a perennial. Doctor_Greenthumb has had his for several years and I watched one in my neighbor's yard grow bigger every year for a few years.

Traditionally, the entire plant is harvested (if you are planning to get high) in the fall and allowed to dry so perhaps that is where the idea of it being an annual came from. A lot of plants considered annuals are perennials that die in the fall for one reason or another.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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A comment from sooby
August 28, 2017
Are you sure you're not thinking of Datura metel, which is a tender perennial? Datura stramonium is listed pretty much everywhere as an annual, sometimes as a tropical annual, including by the USDA. It is listed as an annual here on NGA in the database as well.

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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A comment from DaisyI
August 28, 2017
They look nothing like Datura metel but exactly like D. stramonium. It was at my old house so can't go take a photo for you. Its a mute point anyway.

Doctor_Greenthumb's plant is either going to be dead in the spring or alive in the spring. The question was about when to prune.

Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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A comment from sooby
August 28, 2017
My original question was whether the OP's ID was correct because a shrub that has been indoors for several years does not sound like Datura stramonium. If it's not Datura stramonium, as seems likely, then the answer may be different.

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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A comment from DaisyI
August 28, 2017
You are right. I also asked for a photo.

Name: stone
near Macon Georgia (USA) (Zone 8a)
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A comment from stone
August 29, 2017

I checked his plant list....
Found his datura....
Looks like datura inoxia, or maybe wrightii.

https://garden.org/pics/2017-0...

Or.... Any of the other "sacred datura" varieties.
I've found extensive explanations describing the minor differences.... But not smart enough to "get" what makes them different from each other.

I have D. Inoxia at my house, and it "dies" back to the ground each winter.... And comes back from the roots in the Spring.

I'd say that clipping the entire plant off at ground level would be safe enough.... Or.... Just leave it alone.... As I do.
Those dead stems help protect the roots.... Just add this plant to the list of self mulching perennials.

Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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Answer from DaisyI
August 28, 2017

0

That depends upon how cold it gets at your house and how cold hardy Datura is. The only information I could find about hardiness says zones 9 -11.

The safe choice would be to prune next spring after the plant starts to grow again. The dead foliage helps insulate the plant from the cold. Also, there is always a certain amount of die back - if you prune now, the die back starts from where you pruned. If you wait until spring, you will have a bigger plant when it leafs out as the die back will start at the tips of branches.

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