I Love Nicotiana

Aug 11, 2018 | Love This!

Name: Nicotiana hybrids and species. AKA flowering tobacco.

Type of Plant: An annual plant that self-seeds when it’s happy. Tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and some moths. This is an annual plant for full sun.

Why I Love/Hate this plant: I love this plant because the flowers float on thin stems, creating a cloud of color that mixes in well with other annuals or perennials. I love the fact that they self-seed in some of my beds, returning year after year as one of my favorite “party crashers.” I also love that they self-hybridize, so that over time I get different colors and sizes of plants that surprise me. And I love that seeds continue to germinate over the summer providing fresh plants and flowers all on their own.

A Word to the Wise: Like other party crashers, there is a time when the host of the party has to ask those who have over-stayed their welcome to leave. Early in the spring I reduce the number of seedlings, and in mid-summer I cut out the excess plants. When editing out those that are going to seed, you can select for the ones with the largest flower or most interesting colors, and remove the rest.

Note that all parts of this plant are poisonous.

Over the years I’ve started several varieties of Nicotiana from seed, so now I get several colors and crosses in the garden. Nicotiana is easy to grow from seed. Start them about six weeks before you want to put plants in the garden.

Nicotiana langsdorffii has lime-colored bell-shaped flowers. It mingles in my gardens with N. alata varieties, and here you see both, plus a few interesting crosses with pale mauve flowers that reverse to lime.

Here is the cloud of too-many party crashers having a ball in my Annual Alley. This shot was taken before I asked (insisted) that about 3/4 of these plants leave. I usually clear out a good portion of the nicotiana in late-July. Note the one tall, pink-flowering N. mutibilis in this area. 

Tubular flowers on light stems mean that these plants work well in between and among other flowers.

1 Comment

  1. Ron Sutton

    I love this plant. I have the purple nicotiana alata. You neglected to mention, that aside from its debatable aesthetic value, that the main reason to plant this, is the fabulous evening fragrance that it emits. It is a must have in our garden.


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