Nicotiana: tobacco plant

Height 25-90cm (10in3ft)

Planting distance 23-30cm (9-12in)

Flowers early summer to early autumn

Rich well-drained soil

Sunny site

Half-hardy annual

Tobacco plants have long been valued for the heady evening fragrance of their flowers. Species and varieties grown in the past mainly flowered in the evening, but modern breeding programmes have resulted in hybrids and varieties whose flowers open during daylight hours.

The plants have rosettes of pale green leaves at the base, from which rise elegant branching stems. The star-shaped flowers are carried in clusters throughout the summer and come in a mixture of white, soft pink, lavender-pink, deep red and lime-green.

With their long flowering period, tobacco plants are ideal for group planting in borders and summer beds; the dwarf types do well in pots and containers.

Popular varieties

Most hybrids and varieties are developed from Nicotiana alata.

‘Domino Mixed’ are compact plants just 30cm (1ft) high, carrying flowers in red, pink, mauve, lilac, lime and white.

‘Evening Fragrance’ has flowers with a particularly heady scent. They come in pink, red, lilac, mauve and white on 90cm (3ft) high plants.

‘Lime Green’ has greenish-yellow flowers and reaches 75cm (30in) high.

‘Merlin’ is a dwarf mixture, up to 23cm (9in) high, with blooms in crimson, white, lime-green and bicoloured purple.

‘Nicki’ has strongly fragrant flowers in a mixture of colours: pink, white, red, mauve, maroon and lime-green. It reaches 30cm (1ft).

‘Roulette’ seed strain comes in a mixture of colours, often white-eyed, and bright green foliage. Plants grow to 30cm (1ft).

‘Sensation Mixed’ has flowers in a wide range of colours – white, pink, red and mauve – and reaches 75cm (30in) high.

Cultivation

Sow the seeds under glass in late winter to early spring at a temper-ature of 18°C (64°F). Prick out the seedlings into boxes. Harden off before planting out in late spring. Set the plants 23-30cm (9-12in) apart in rich well-drained soil in a sunny site. Dead-head.

Pests and diseases

Aphids can attack young plants.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Annuals, Biennials, Bulbous Plants, Featured Articles | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Nicotiana: tobacco plant

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