What are Moon Lilies | How to Grow Moon Lily

If you want to know “What are Moon Lilies” then this comprehensive guide will give you all the info along with –How to Grow Moon Lily.

What are Moon Lilies

What are Moon Lilies – if you too have this question, then this guide is all you need! Let’s have a look at this flower and also learn – How to Grow Moon Lily.

What are Moon Lilies?

Datura wrightii, also moon lilies, sacred datura, or desert thorn-apple, is a flowering plant native to the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico.

The flowers are large, trumpet-shaped, and showy. They measure around 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 cm) in length and have a distinct, flaring shape. The flowers have a creamy white color and a pleasant fragrance that becomes more pronounced in the evening.

Moon lily flowers typically bloom during the summer months, from late spring to early fall. They are known for their nocturnal blooming habit, opening in the evening and closing by mid-morning the next day.

Note: All parts of Datura wrightii, including the flowers, leaves, seeds, and roots, contain toxic compounds known as tropane alkaloids. These alkaloids can be dangerous or even deadly if ingested. Therefore, caution should be exercised when handling or growing Datura wrightii, especially in households with children or pets.

Botanical Name: Datura wrightii

USDA Zones: 8-11

How to Grow Moon Lily

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Seed Propagation:

  • Collect mature seeds from the Datura wrightii plant. The seeds are typically contained in spiky, round seed pods.
  • Remove the seeds from the pods and allow them to dry for a few days.
  • Prepare a well-draining potting mix or use a seed-starting mix.
  • Sow the seeds on the surface of the soil and lightly press them in. Do not cover the seeds with soil, as they require light to germinate.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Place the pots in a warm location with indirect sunlight.
  • Germination usually takes around 1 to 3 weeks. Once the seedlings have a few sets of true leaves, they can be transplanted into individual pots or their desired location in the garden.

Stem Cuttings

  • Select a healthy, non-flowering stem from the Datura wrightii plant. Ideally, choose a stem that is not woody but still firm and green.
  • Using a sharp, sterilized knife or pruning shears, cut a 4- to 6-inch (10-15 cm) section of the stem just below a leaf node.
  • Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving a few leaves at the top.
  • Dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder (optional) to encourage root development.
  • Fill a pot with well-draining soil or a mix of peat and perlite.
  • Insert the cutting into the soil, burying about half of the stem.
  • Water the cutting thoroughly and place it in a warm, bright location with indirect sunlight.
  • Mist the cutting occasionally to maintain humidity and prevent it from drying out.
  • Roots should develop within a few weeks. Once the cutting has established roots, it can be transplanted into a larger container or its final growing spot.

Requirements for Growing Moon Lilies



Moon lilies flourish in areas receiving abundant sunlight, requiring at least 6 hours of direct sun per day. They can also adapt to partial shade, which encompasses 2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. For their utmost development, it is best to provide a southern exposure that offers ample warmth and bright sun.

Nevertheless, in hotter regions, it can be advantageous to provide a gentle shade during midday to ensure the leaves remain adequately hydrated.


Datura wrightii prefers soil that drains well and doesn’t retain excess moisture. Avoid heavy clay soils that can become waterlogged. Instead, opt for a soil mix that allows water to flow through freely.

A loose, sandy loam or a well-draining cactus/succulent potting mix is suitable.


For optimal growth and vibrant blooms, it is essential to maintain regular watering for moon lilies while ensuring the soil does not become waterlogged. Do this by watering the plant only when the topsoil feels a little dry to the touch.

In winter, it is advisable to abstain from watering as natural rainfall typically provides sufficient moisture.

Moon Lily Care

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You don’t have to use fertilizer for moon lilies – these plants are champ to grow in adverse of situations and conditions., Applying compost or mulch around the plant can help keep the soil healthy and prevent weeds.

Pests and Diseases

Moon lilies exhibit resilience to insects, diseases, and other common issues, as well as being resistant to damage caused by deer.

Are Moon Lilies Toxic?

Before considering the cultivation of moon lilies, it is crucial to be mindful of their drawbacks. The entire plant contains potent alkaloids such as scopolamine, atropine, and hyoscyamine, which are highly toxic.

Even minimal ingestion or inhalation can result in severe symptoms, including paralysis, elevated heart rate, and potentially fatal consequences. Survivors of moon lily poisoning may endure lasting organ damage and cognitive impairment.

Hence, it is advisable to avoid incorporating this plant into ornamental gardens where pets and children may come into contact with it.

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