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** Devils Trumpet Tree, Purple Horn of Plenty Datura metel
These leafy very small trees are bushy and usually covered with large or even very large beautiful softly colored flowers pointing upwards. The plant is entirely poisonous, flowers, stems and leaves, and it is said to be responsible for many deaths.
Photographed: On the tiled entryway to our former home in Montserrat and in the border garden by our den.
Planting and Growth: Plant them in full sun or in a place with a little shade, then give them plenty of water and lots of fertilizer.
Central America or Southern China
Problems: It is susceptible to spider mites and since the leaves are soft and furry, it will also be susceptible to the acidic volcanic ash and acid rain in Montserrat. To treat the insects we used a professional insecticide sprayer, but ours was filled with soapy water which worked just fine. Use a light mix of a lemon scented powdered clothes detergent (the simplest you can find). A light mix might be about 1 teaspoon mixed into one quart of water. Spray this on in the evening as sometimes the bright tropical sun can burn plants with a recent wet soapy residue.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2008 and © 2013

The photographs below were taken at our new home in Guatemala. I bought one packet of seeds for the datura pictured from a US company and this is what I got after a few months. One single pictured on the right and one not very attractive double on the left. Below them are two photographs of the one plant that came as advertised. I made a note of the company on the "L" Page of this site under LINKS in case you want to avoid the same problems I had with their seeds.
**Devil's Trumpet, Datura, Jimson Weed Datura innoxia Mill.
This is a beautiful very short lived wild plant that will give you great pleasure if you can accommodate its needs and growth pattern in your garden. It will grow as we have seen in a dry pile of sand and will flower at least once before quickly drying up and disappearing. In our garden in Montserrat in a much less difficult environment it flowered a few times, looked terrible for a short while and then died. In that process though it will give off many seeds so there is always a small plant growing when the older one expires.
From: Central America
Photographed: Directly below in our crepe myrtle garden at our former home in Montserrat and below that in the Thuya Garden on Mt. Desert Island in Maine.
Planting and Growth:
Plant these daturas in a hot, dry and desperate environment in your tropical garden -- a place that is dry a lot of the year. It will delight you with its beautiful soft white flowers. The flowers in the photographs are about three or four inches across.
Problems: "None that we have yet found, but give us time." That sense of future troubles was right on target. This datura is subject to spider mites, but it is still less vulnerable to the many problems of the Devil's Trumpet Tree above.
Text & Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2009 and © 2014

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