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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jimson Weed a Perennial

Q. I have a second year Jimsonweed which I started from seed.  It really grew this year and now all leaves are gone.  Should I cut back the large branches or leave it alone?

A. I wont ask you why you have jimson weed but you are aware that parts of it are hallucinogenic and please be careful with it. It was used by some southwestern Native Americans for religious rituals. It is possible to cause kidney and heart failure if mishandled.It is now recognized for some potential health benefits but you have to know what you are doing to use it safely. Compounds that are potentially dangerous can vary widely from plant to plant.

It is an annual in northern climates and a perennial in tropical climates and herbaceous perennial in semitropical climates. You should start it from seed every year if it is planted in a location where temperatures get low enough to kill it outright. In our climate of the Mojave Desert the top will die when it freezes and regrows from the base in the spring. So, sometime this winter cut it to within about one inch of the soil and let it regrow when it is warm. Mulch it during cold weather.

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