Truly unexpected as a garden plant, ornamental tobacco used to be illegal.
Ornamental tobacco, key facts
Name – Nicotiana
Family – Solanaceae (nightshade)
Type – perennial
Height: 20 to 60 inches (50 to 150 cm)
Exposure: full sun, part sun, shade
Soil: ordinary – Flowering: summer to early fall
Today, most governments recognize that this ornamental plant doesn’t pose any health risks.
Planting ornamental tobacco
Ornamental tobacco is planted in April if purchased in nursery pots.
- Add soil mix and, if possible, organic soil conditioner such as man ure and seaweed.
If sowing from seed, better to consider sowing in a sheltered place sometime in March.
Later on, transplant to nursery pots when the first leaves have appeared.
Lastly, when May comes around and it isn’t freezing anymore, transfer seedlings to the soil. Make sure it’s enriched with a good soil mix and organic soil conditioner (again, manure and seaweed for instance).
Propagating Nicotina, ornamental tobacco
Tobacco flowers will turn into seeds. These you can sow with great germination results.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of very light soil mix (such as is recommended for seedlings and sowing).
- Place your sowing tray or pots in bright light, at a temperature of at least 70°F (20°C). Ideal is 70-75°F (20-24°C).
- Keep the substrate moist by misting it often, or watering with a fine drizzle.
- Usually, tobacco seeds will germinate 1-2 weeks after sowing.
- When sprouts are an inch or two tall (a few centimeters), transplant them to single nursery pots.
- Transfer to the growing bed outdoors in May (middle of spring).
- Propagate this tobacco plant through crown division
Care and Pruning for ornamental tobacco
Ornamental tobacco is quite easy to care for, especially once it’s settled in.
It’s a thirsty plant that needs lots of water. This is even more true when it’s very hot or if it hasn’t rained in a long time.
Growing ornamental tobacco in pots
Give the plant fertilizer, the same you’d give to plants in the vegetable plot.
Tobacco is a heavy feeder that quickly drains soil of its nutrients, and growing in containers makes this even more relevant.
In any case, whether in a pot or in the ground, remove wilted flowers regularly (deadheading).
If you want seeds, of course, let a few flowers mature on the stem.
Diseases and parasites on ornamental tobacco
Nicotinia is sometimes invaded by aphids, but the disease it’s most likely to catch is powdery mildew. When the weather is hot and humid, stay on the lookout for this to treat it immediately.
Ornamental tobacco is a host of cabbage butterfly. If you notice its caterpillars chewing away at leaves, remove them at once.
Learn more about ornamental tobacco
In a flower bed, along edges or even in a garden box, this plant will for sure provide you with an abundance of flowers.
The fragrance, in addition, is truly unique.
It’s a one-of-a-kind plant to grow!
Smart tip about ornamental tobacco
Flower tobacco also fits right into any bouquet prepared in a vase.