I received a Ballerina double yellow (or triple?) datura in the mail from an ebay seller yesterday. It was a tiny bit wilted, but not bad at all for being in a dark box for three days. Anyway, it was in a 3" pot, the plant being 4" tall. I planted it immediately in the ground. I watered it well, working its pot soil into my native sandy loam, and watering it well. I live in the high desert of S. Calif. Very, very dry. The temp outside was about 80. Well, I went out several hours later, and the plant had collapsed! I mean, wilted to the ground. Not even standing up anymore. I shaded it (it only got about two hours of sun yesterday) and am hoping for the best. Do you think there's any hope? Should I Superthrive it? Any other suggestions? Thank you.
I'd dig it up and put it back into a pot. Don't feed it or put it in soil that has food in it. Keep in in bright shade until it recovers. Once it recovers, harden it to your sun but putting the pot in a spot that gets early morning sun and mid and afternoon shade. Keep increasing the amount of sun daily. It is normal for datura to wilt in the middle of the day but they bounce right back in the late afternoon. When you put it back in the ground, dig a hole twice as large as the pot it is in, gently slip the plant out of the pot so the soil retains the shape of the pot and put your plant in it (when you decant the plant, do not disturb the soil around the roots so the plant "doesnt" know its been moved) and fill the hole with more potting mix. The reason for doing this is so the plant can recover and establish a good root sytem before it hits native soil. That is VERY important!
Well, I wish I'd had access to your knowledge, X, before I planted my little guy. Obviously I did most of it wrong. I didn't use potting mix - just native soil. And it never did bounce back. The poor little thing was completely gone within a matter of three days. Your advise makes a lot of sense, and if I ever get another one, I'll be sure to do it the way you suggested. I did everything backwards! Oh well, live and learn. Thank you anyway.