posted on April 05, 2010 09:40
Datura--- Seed Starting
by John Curran
Datura seeds can require patience to start, as germination is often erratic.
Soaking the seeds in warm water for 24 hours after having nicked or scarified the seed can be helpful.
Light is required for germination, so seeds should be sown on the surface, and covered very lightly with compost or vermiculite. The seed flat can be sealed in a plastic zip-lock bag to maintain moisture; remove bag when seeds sprout. Fluorescent lights may be used.
A heat mat set for 80 degrees F. may be beneficial, and help speed germination.
Datura may be a good candidate for winter-sowing. They can be direct-sown, or started in containers outdoors in February or March. Datura resent transplanting, so Jiffy-Pots may be useful.
Some Datura species may require stratification--- the freezing and thawing that overcomes dormancy.
It may take from 3 to 8 weeks or longer for germination. It appears the single-flowered Datura will sprout faster than the double- or triple-flowered varieties.
One way to overcome a number of types of dormancy is the use of Gibberellic Acid, GA3, a naturally occurring plant growth regulator. Presoaking in GA3 will help speed germination. Alternately, Datura seed may be purchased pre-treated; one good source is: