Tobacco plant, Nicotiana, is a popular summer bedding plant, coming in a range of colours and sizes. The trumpet-like, night-scented flowers make tobacco plant a great choice for planting near a seating area. Some varieties also attract moths.
Tobacco plant is perfect for growing in a mixed border or container display, and are easy to grow from seed. Many varieties make excellent cut flowers.
How to grow tobacco plant (Nicotiana)
Grow tobacco plant in moist but well-drained soil in full sun.
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Where to grow nicotiana
Grow nicotianas in moist, well-drained soil, in full sun to partial shade. Some varieties, such as the Nicotiana alata, do best in full sun, and taller varieties may bend towards the light if not in direct sun.
How to plant nicotiana
Sow nicotiana seeds in early spring, under cover. Plant out into the garden after all risk of frost has passed, making sure young plants are fully hardened off.
Looking after tobacco plant
Deadhead spent blooms regularly to prolong the flowering season. Species nicotianas will self-seed if allowed. Grown as tender perennials, nicotianas can be overwintered outdoors in sheltered gardens. Simply cut back in autumn and mulch around the base of the plant for the best chances of regrowth the following spring.
How to propagate nicotiana
Let seedheads develop and cut these back when the seeds are ripe, into a paper bag. Sow seed in spring.
Growing nicotiana: problem solving
Nicotianas are relatively trouble-free to grow. Protect young seedlings from slugs and snails.
Five nicotiana varieties to grow
Nicotiana sylvestris – a tall tobacco plant, growing to 1.5m with large scented leaves and elegant, drooping white flowers with an intense fragrance. It makes a statement in a border, works well in large containers and makes a wonderful cut flower.
Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ – a short-lived tender perennial with large, funnel-shaped, lime-green flowers. During the day the blooms wilt, but from early evening onwards they perk up and emit a seductive fragrance that attracts moths.
Nicotiana langsdorffii – a fantastic species nicotiana for growing in large swathes at the back of an herbaceous border, or among other perennials. It bears tall spikes of lime-green flowers with a delicious scent, through the summer.
Nicotiana alata ‘Domino Crimson’ – a vigorous but short-lived tender perennial with large, funnel-shaped, bright red flowers. From early evening onwards they emit a seductive fragrance. The flowers are a magnet for night-flying moths.
Nicotiana x hybrida ‘Whisper Mixed’ – a tall selection of nicotianas, brilliant for growing at the back of a border. Plants have silver-green foliage and bear flowers in glorious, muted shades of white and pink, all summer long. They release a delicate fragrance to attract moths in the evening.