Growing Wild Dagga
The Leonotis family plants are are velvety and woody at the base. The leaves are long, narrow, rough above, velvety below, with serrate edges. The wild dagga flowers profusely in autumn with its characteristic bright orange flowers carried in compact clusters in whorls along the flower stalk. Apricot and creamy white flowered forms are also found.
This is an excellent plant for attracting wildlife to your garden as the flowers profuse copious nectar which attracts birds, bees and butterflies. The wild dagga is fast growing and is frost hardy. It should be well watered in summer but does not require much water in the winter months. It is very easy to grow but will do best in well drained loamy soils with plenty of compost added. Plants should be cut right back at the end of winter. Propagate from seed, cuttings or by dividing up large clumps.
Plant them in groups and space out each plant about two and half feet, needs some space. This species is closely related to Phlomis. Native from South Africa, were it is found growing on grassy scrub lands and along roadways, blooming in late summer into fall. Zones 9-11. Germination in 1 to 3 weeks at 65-75F. Surface sow the seeds and keep moist but not wet. 30 seeds.
Leonotis may be planted outdoors in California and the South; it may be grown as an annual in the North, or brought into the greenhouse during winter. It should be planted in full sun, as it will not flower in the shade. It prefers a dry soil and is drought-resistant. Water deeply and infrequently.
Leonotis may be propagated by seeds sown indoors from January to February. Cuttings root easily at any time of the year. For good-sized plants, cuttings should be taken in the early spring.
The leaves and flowers are smoked for their cannabis-like effects. These parts may be gathered at any time and dried quickly. Harvest no more than one-third of the leaves at one time. Let the plant grow and fill out for at least a month before harvesting again. In Africa a resin is gathered from the leaves. Plants grown in less torrid climates do not tend to exude this resin. Such leaves can be smoked, however, or subjected to alcohol extraction.
Further Articles for Wild Dagga
- Dispelling Wild Dagga Species Confusion – An easy to read comparison.
- The Diterpenoids of Leonurus leonotus – An interesting clinical study.
- Dagga/Yopo Experience Report – A positive story by an unknown author.
- Folk, Traditional, and Medical Uses for Wild Dagga – Explained in detail.
- Growing Wild Dagga – Cultivating Leonotis leonurus plants.
- Botany of Leonurus (Mint Family) – From the Herba database.
- Hottentot Tribes and Wild Dagga – Brief history of who the Hottentot’s were.
- South Africa’s Nature – One explorer’s account.
- Synthesis of Leonurine – A brief abstract.
- Motherwort – The True Dagga Plant – Ancient plant with many uses.