Datura or Jimson weed Toloache, Moonflower is a genus consisting of nine species of poisonous vespertine flowering plants belonging to the Nightshade family, Solanaceae. They are mostly annual or perennial herbs, shrubs or trees and are easy to cultivate.
Datura is easy to care for. The plant is very adaptable and can easily be grown as a houseplant too. Just be careful to keep it out of the reach of children and pets as most parts of the plant are poisonous.
The plant does best planted in full sun conditions. Datura is essentially a tropical plant and so does well in warmer temperatures.
Large trumpet-shaped flowers in hues of purple or white. Flowers might grow upright or droop down. Although all parts of the plant are toxic, the plant is still grown for its beautiful inflorescence. The fruit of the plant is greenish in colour with spiny projections. The plant blooms profusely in the summer months.
Water the plant regularly during the growing season. Keep the soil moist but never too wet. Over-watering can make the soil slouchy and lead to root-rot in the plant. However, do not let the soil dry out completely.
The plant can tolerate a variety of soil types and does not have any specific preferences. A loamy, well-drained, humus-rich, chalky soil is ideal.
Datura plant can grow up to a height of 2m. They spread about the same laterally so make sure to space them properly when planting more than one plant.
Feed the plant weekly during the flowering season with a half diluted balanced fertilizer for better blooms. Water the plant before feeding.
The plant is not very susceptible to pests and diseases but occasionally they get affected by mealybugs and aphids. Spray the plant with water or soap solution. Follow with organic insecticides if the problem persists.
Datura plant has bold flowers which bloom in huge numbers during the flowering season. You can grow them in groups to create a beautiful border. According to Ayurveda, the plant could be used in the treatment of Asthma and cough.
It can be used as a sedative too. In Indian religion, Datura fruit is used as an offering to Lord Shiva.