My Substitute for Oriental Lilies

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

Thursday in My Garden

Some years ago the red lily-leaf beetle arrived and devastated my Oriental and Asiatic lilies. As an organic gardener, I hand-picked the beetles, but eventually they won and I gave up growing them. Now I grow Angel’s Trumpet (Datura spp.) and am happy with it as a replacement. In fact, I think it’s better.

Angel's Trumpet is lightly fragrant, too!

Today I have an Angel’s Trumpet in a large planter that has 2 blossoms and 10 buds. It will continue to produce blossoms all summer and well into the fall. In fact, I may bring the pot in the house this fall to see if it will survive. In West Africa (where I was a Peace Corps volunteer) Angel’s Trumpet was a shrub that lived for years.

This plant has 10 buds that will open sequentially over the next week

There are at least 2 kinds of Angel’s Trumpet: the variety I grow is called Belle Blanche; there is also a purple variety. I have grown the purple one, and found it less vigorous. I have seen a double purple one, too.

Last year I grew Angel's Trumpet in the ground, too.

Angel’s Trumpet grows best in sun or part sun, and in rich, dark soil that stays lightly moist. I make a 50-50 mix of potting soil and compost when I grow it in a pot, but some years I also grow it in the ground. It’s a great plant!

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A few words of warning: all parts of this plant are poisonous, so it is not recommended for people with small children or pets that might chew on it. A reader advised me that the leaves may cause irritation on contact, too. 

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