Thursday, November 20, 2008

Growing Henbane Successfully

It's official. Just 5 days after planting henbane seeds (that I purchased from eBay seller "ambersoffea" -- see: my henbane plantings are already growing visibly!

With a scientific name like "Hyoscyamus Niger" you can imagine why many growers report difficulty in getting the seedlings started (they just sound exotic). Thus I thought, with my first but well-researched attempt at growing Henbane seedlings, I might share the few successful preparatory tips that I utilized; mostly by intuition.

Then, if you, dear reader, have suggestions for me regarding the continued health of this plant -- please (by all means) share those hints here! {Leave a comment!}


  • First, I dried out a mixture of 50% compost and 50% potting soil on a large cookie-sheet that I stored in my garage for a couple of weeks.
  • Next I collected the above mentioned cookie sheet and poured boiling hot water over the composted-soil mixture (to kill any mold or bacteria hiding in the soil with the wet heat) and I even cooked the dirt further in my oven to make certain no bacteria would survive to attack my seedlings later.
  • While I allowed the soil to cool under an aluminum foil cover (to keep any mold or other invasive amoeba from landing on my topsoil) I put the tiny Henbane seeds into a drinking glass, covered them with water, and stored them in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Next day -- when the soil was completely cooled and at room temperature -- I mixed a very little bit of dirt in with the drained seeds (they're too small to plant by hand) and I sprinkled the seed-mixture into the above pictured cardboard pots. You can tell my strategy did not disperse the seeds very well -- but I'm not complaining; I feel so thrilled the seeds were viable and my efforts, so far, have worked (after reading so many reports by other growers that attempts to start this plant proved unsuccessful).
  • You can see from the above photographs, I purchased a Humidome (very cheap hot house with a plug-in heat mat).
  • Because my soil mixture was so very wet when I planted the freshly-soaked Henbane seeds, and because the resultant humidity collects on the top of my Humidome, I must drain the clear-plastic lid, daily, and the water that's evaporated and collected on the lid literally runs together to pour off into the sink.
  • I only allow my seedlings to be exposed to the household air for the length of time that I'm drying out the Humidome's cover with a paper towel (due to my goal of minimizing contamination hazards).

Numerous articles I read suggested bacteria and insects love to consume Henbane so I'm taking extra precautions! What's more, reports state that Henbane does not transplant well so I made sure the temporary pots I used for the planting were biodegradable (when I insert the entire cardboard pot into a larger and more permanent growing container the Henbane's fragile root systems will not be disturbed).

According to my (above mentioned) seed-seller,

Plant Type: Annual

Where To Plant
: Full Sun to Part Shade (My planter was placed in my living room window facing Eastward).

Soil Types
: Average (My research suggested otherwise so I used heavily organic soil -- as I made reference to that, above. Meanwhile, I also found one scientific source that suggested Henbane prefers a sandy soil. Thus I consulted my pendulum; and, obviously "got" that the highly organic soil was best).

: Easy (every resource I could find for growing Henbane admitted it is very difficult to grow)


Anonymous said...

You have been tagged :o). For further details see my entry from Friday the 21. of November.
Have a nice weekend
Crafty Witch

Arawn Graalord said...

Have you researched Mycorrhiza? I don't know whether Henbane is a "Host" species.

Arawn Spitteler said...

HennBana seems to be of the Tomato/Potato/Nightshade family. I suggest meditation and pendulum in the management of this stuff, as its abuse could have karmic kickbacks prohibiting the consumption of Tomato Ketchup, or French Fried Potatoes, not to mention that vegetarian favorite, Egg-Plant Parmessian. You might plant a mycorrhizally inocculated Marigold, at one end, and see how it does as a Host Species.
Not sure you want it around your shop, though, unless you're doing surgery, which could better use Hypnosis and Accupuncture, to anaesthetize.

Luna said...

Henbane, eh? I haven't attempted that one yet. Just curious, what are you growing it for? Magickal or medicinal purposes? Or perhaps both? :)

SunTiger said...

Hi Luna ~
Naturally every plant we grow has its magickal uses -- even if it's just to create an opportunity for "grounding" energetically while we water, tend the soil and otherwise connect with nature. :D

I actually read how difficult it was to grow Henbane and felt inspired by the challenge. This morning, however (it's Monday, NOv. 24, 2008) I had to cut back some of the cardboard making up the container due to the dreaded growth of new mold (discarded that and hopefully Iwon't see it again).


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