I’m harvesting some Henbane tonight and getting it ready for processing because this is what the plants led me to do. It can be tricky being amongst so many practitioners who come from completely different traditions than my own. It ultimately makes me stronger in my own medicine but a lot of what makes that happen is accepting how different my own walk is and to not try to conform or question my ways because everyone else suddenly does things a different way and many sound pretty sure that that is the way something should be done. But I have the greatest success and feel the strongest when I listen to the guidance that comes deep from within and is more harmonious with my background on the Red Road. I tried changing my gardening habits to follow planetary alignments, astrological cycles, and moon risings and though it produces wonderful results for many of my friends and peers, for myself, the more I tried, the less plugged into my plants I became. And I later realized it was because I had started to doubt my own ways by thinking another way must be better. They have their own medicine and I have my own. We need to be careful that we don’t just pick up a medicine and think it’s our own because it’s either attractive and cool (like Wolf medicine for example) or because everyone else seems to have it or do it a certain way. Someone else's medicine is their own personal medicine. No matter how exact we are in trying to duplicate someone else’s medicine, it will never work as well as for the original person and that’s a beautiful thing. We are all unique and our medicine is all special and unique to each one of us. We need to trust our ancestors and guides and trust that really is them whispering in our ears even if they are leading us down a road that looks nothing like anyone else's. So tonight I heard the call and went to my henbanes. I had planned to let them go and get more seeds from them before harvesting but that’s not what they guided me to do tonight. Their leaves were incredibly sticky and fragrant, more so than usual. They were and are ready to give themselves to the truffles and who am I to question their guidance, so sticky henbane in hand, I cut the plants to small pieces and begin the process. ^_^🦢🌈 (12/2021)
A lot of the information I have found online and in books about growing these plants I find questionable. Don't get me wrong, these are very special plants and I do consider them sacred, but part of considering them sacred is to speak of them in complete honesty. They are not very tricky to grow in general (except for mandrake) ; they just need plenty of light for the most part. They are no different than many other plants. Many people grow nightshades in their vegetable gardens without a second thought (potatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes etc) the ones I use can be toxic but so are poinsettias, daffodils, and lily of the valley and you don't see people freaking out about growing any of those.
Ironically so many of the people who work with these plants spread a very different message and fear about these plants. They will make the growing of the plants seem extremely dangerous and tricky and very non intuitive. I do not agree. Trust yourself, trust the plant. Try not to look to others for special advice about growing these plants in particular. I have learned far more during the times where I allow myself to be truly quiet and sit with these plants then I have ever learned listening or reading someone else discussing their own thoughts and or findings 💚
that said I can share what I add to soil and how much light I use etc
Black and White/Yellow Henbane are crazy easy. You don't even have to soak them first. just sprinkle some in a pot of dampish soil and top with a sprinkle of soil. Spritz well with a water bottle and give them tons of light. I turn my lights on when I wake and off when I go to bed. They should show green within a week. (see Egyptian Henbane below)
Belladonna and Datura can both be tough to germinate but should be easier (after the GA3 soak..instructions in packet) in smaller shallower starting pots on a warming mat if you have one, but it's not essential. Both of these plants are quite susceptible to fungal gnats (they’ll look like fruit flies) when over watered, so do try to avoid being overly zealous in that regard. Mites too can be common problems that may arise. Once established, both of these plants are great to take cuttings from. Simply dip your cuttings in rooting hormone and plant. Larger woodier branches root better when left in a glass of water for a few weeks.
Egyptian Henbane: You'll need to use GA3 to get these to germinate. They do not like being transplanted at all so if you have to do so, wait until they are very well established and not just little babies.
They are succulents so need deep pots with room for much denser and thicker roots systems. they go deep. We use 8.5 to ten inch deep pots. They like to share pots… ie more then one per pot, they thrive in groups.
I have used the same soil mix as I do with my other nightshades but am now playing with working with more traditional cactus mixes.
I just started a new small batch of seeds straight into their final pot because I always do lose way too many during transplanting. You may want to try the same.
Wormwood, Mugwort, California Mugwort, Sun Opener, & Klip Dagga: These all should do well sown directly into pots or the garden. Barely cover seeds with soil and tamp down. Prepare to wait up to 3 to 4 weeks for the Wormwood & California Mugwort. (both would be good candidates for a presoak because of this) In garden settings thin all to 2 feet apart. The first three are perennials and should be cut back to 2 inches when the cold comes. For sun opener, the minuscule seeds are premixed with sand first to stretch and make for easier planting.
White Sage: Instruction with packet.
Soil and Soil Additives:
Starting with great soil makes everything easier. A favorite among many is Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil.The most important additions you can add to your soil are extra perlite for better drainage, and then bone meal and lime. If you feel like indulging a little more, here are the other items we like to add to our soil blends. Try one or all, but you won’t need these to start: worm castings, compressed coconut fiber substrate, blood meal, and bat guano.
You want super well draining soil.
Liquid kelp added to the watering can on a semi regular basis is very beneficial. We love Root Ruckus Liquid Compost by GS Plant Foods. Tiger Bloom Buds & Bloom is a great one for plants that are flowering.
GA3 is a naturally occurring hormone found in plants and fungi. It can be used to speed up the germination process of seeds.
Directions: Add 1 scant scoop per provided jar and fill with water. Shake well. It may not look like it’s dissolving but it will still work. You may choose to dissolve the GA3 in a small amount of alcohol first. Add seeds and refrigerate 16-24 hours and then plant as normal.
Using GA3 is an optional method for germinating seeds that have harder shells. Black Henbane should not be soaked in GA3 as it can destroy the seeds. Likewise, oversoaking any type of seed in GA3 will destroy the seed germ.
Other tips for germination:
Warming pads and a shallow soil bed can help speed along the germination process.
Instead of using GA3 you can gently scarify seeds on fine grit sandpaper and then soak in water NOT containing GA3. Richo from Strictly Medicinal Seeds also says fresh willow bark water is another all natural solution for softening the kernels. I am one willow tree away from trying this method myself. Spring is apparently the best time to harvest the bark if you want to try making some.
If you’re an indoor gardener like us, these plants do need many hours of bright light every day. A window that’s very sunny and warm may work fine. However, we recommend using grow lights. At home, we turn ours on when we wake up and don’t turn them off until we go to bed. There are a lot of great ones on the market. If you’re interested in the lights we use, which we highly recommend, email or message us and we’ll send you a link. You do not need the pricey overhead systems that hang from above to grow these plants indoors.
Take It or leave It:
You can get all of these plant supplies from Amazon if you choose to partake
The most important thing:
These plants are great allies and friends. Give to them and they’ll give back. No need to worry over them. Embrace them with joy and they’ll respond. They should be relatively easy to grow. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch any time. We’re here to help ^_^