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How to Plant Damiana

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Damiana or Mexican holly is a deciduous shrub that produces yellow blooms in the summer. This plant is winter hardy only in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness zones 9 to 11. In zone 8 and below, keep it in a container and bring it indoors in the fall. Damiana, Turnera diffusa, is not common at garden centers but you can buy seeds online. After the seeds germinate and the seedlings are strong, you can plant them outside or in containers.

Pour a 2-inch deep layer of peat-based potting mix made for seed germination into a seed flat or small containers. Use a potting mix that contains perlite, sand or vermiculite for good drainage. Start the damiana seeds in peat pots or pellets, if you prefer.

Moisten the potting mix, then plant the seeds approximately 1 inch apart in the seed flat. Cover them lightly with a fine layer of potting mix. Make sure the top layer of potting mix is no more than three times the diameter of the seeds.

Place a plastic cover or plastic wrap over the seed flat to help retain soil moisture levels. Water the seeds from below if the top of the soil begins to dry. Fill a sink with 1 to 2 inches of water and let the seed flat sit in the water until it soaks up to the top of the soil.

Put the seed flat in a brightly lit area but out of direct sunlight. Place a grow light over the seed flat, 4 to 6 inches above the top of the container. Put it on a timer to provide 14 to 16 hours of light each day. Keep the seed flat soil at a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the seed flat on a heat mat or coil if your house is cooler than 70 F.

Remove the plastic cover after the seeds sprout and grow to about 1/2 inch tall. Continue to keep the soil consistently moist but not soggy.

Scoop the seedlings out of the flat gently with a teaspoon or butter knife when they become over-crowded. Pour a 1- to 2-inch layer of a quality peat-based potting mix that contains perlite, sand or vermiculite into small containers with drain holes in the bottom.

Set the seedlings gently into the small containers. Cover the roots of the seedlings with more potting mix. Place the entire peat pot or pellet directly into the container, if you used that method, and fill in around it with potting mix when the seedling roots begin to grow out of the bottom. Water the newly transplanted seedlings to settle the soil around the roots. Do not press the soil down by hand.

Keep the potted damiana seedlings in a warm, brightly lit location indoors. Water them when the top of the soil begins to dry. Grow them indoors for one winter. Continue using the grow light, if necessary, to provide enough light. Do not place the tender seedlings in hot, direct sunlight.

Allow the top of the potting mix to dry between waterings during the last few weeks of spring just before moving them outdoors. Begin exposing them to direct morning and evening sunlight for an hour or so during this time as well.

Plant them outdoors in sandy, fast-draining soil in a location that receives four to six hours of direct sunlight each day. Repot them into larger containers with drain holes in the bottom in cooler climates so you can move them back inside in the fall. Place the damiana plants where they will be protected from strong winds.

Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch around the plants but keep the mulch one to two inches away from the tender stems. Water the plants generously right after planting. Continue to water them once a week or so throughout the summer.

  • University of Minnesota Extension: Herbs
  • Plants For A Future: Turnera Diffusa Aphrodisiaca — (G.H. Ward)

Reannan Raine worked for 30 years in the non-profit sector in various positions. She recently became a licensed insurance agent but has decided to pursue a writing career instead. Ms. Raine is hoping to have her first novel published soon.

How to Plant Damiana. Damiana or Mexican holly is a deciduous shrub that produces yellow blooms in the summer. This plant is winter hardy only in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness zones 9 to 11. In zone 8 and below, keep it in a container and bring it indoors in the fall. Damiana, Turnera diffusa, is not common …

Damiana plant seeds

Synonym
Turnera aphrodisiaca.
Common name
Damiana, Mexican damiana, Mexican holly, Mizibcoc, old woman’s broom, hierba del venado, oreganello.
Family
Turneraceae (Turnera family) .

Overview
Damiana, original from Central America, is a small perennial shrub; growing up to 3 – 6 feet (1 – 2 meters) tall.
The leaves are serrate and aromatic; smooth on the top side, glabrous with a few hairs on ribs underneath. The stems are erect with the small yellow flowers rising from the leaf axils which produce small sweet smelling fruits. The seed capsule is one-celled splitting into three pieces, exposing 3 to 6 kidney-shaped seeds.
Leaves from this plant are used as a tea substitute and as a flavoring in liqueurs.
Damiana is on the FDA list for GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) and is also often used as food flavoring.
It is claimed that smoking this herb induce a marijuana-like legal “high” and euphoria. When smoked, the effects last up to 90 minutes; taken as a tea, the effects are milder, but last longer.

Constituents
Leaves contain up to 1% volatile oil consisting of 1,8-cineole, p-cymene, alpha- and beta-pinene, thymol, alpha-copaene, and calamene. Dry matter of the leaf includes a bitter substance (damianin), tannins, flavonoids, beta-sitosterol, and glycosides (gonzalitosin, arbutin, and tetraphyllin B).

Suriname’s Traditional Medicine
Damiana is used for sexual debility (increases libido). Other applications are: as an antidepressant, nerve tonic, diuretic, prostate complaints, frigidity and cough-suppressant.
In Mexico, Damiana is also used for gastrointestinal disorders (probably due to antibacterial activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria).

Visit also our TINCTURE and Medicinal Tea pages.

Seeds and leaves from Damiana.