Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana) Planting and Care Guide
Quick Facts About Nicotiana
Flowering Tobacco is a sun-loving, versatile plant with a lovely aroma. Nicotiana is easily propagated by flower seeds, and whether grown in a container or in the landscape, this plant is very showy and easy to grow. Upward facing, star-shaped 2 inch flowers fill your summer evenings with an intoxicating perfume. Nicotiana plants are heat tolerant and heavy blooming. The stems are perfect for cutting and last well in a vase.
Start Nicotiana seeds indoors 4 - 6 weeks prior to the end of frost season. Or, for areas with warm springs, start the seeds directly outside.
Nicotiana plants prefer full sun to partial shade and fertile, moist, well-draining soil. The plants are perfect for beds, borders and cottage gardens. Nicotiana plants may need some protection from wind.
How to Plant Nicotiana
- Fill starter trays with moisten seed starting soil
- The Nocotiana seeds need light for germination, so press the seeds into the soil but do not cover them
- Mist down the surface of the soil daily to keep the seeds moist
- Set the trays in a bright sunny window or under grow lights (14 hours a day) for growing
- Once the seedlings reach several inches in height, pinch back the center stem to encourage branching
- Provide a balanced water soluable fertilizer that is diluted to half strength
- As temperatures warm outdoors, harden off the seedlings for 7 - 10 days prior to transplanting out
- Or, once frost danger has passed, weed the area and work the soil to a depth of several inches
- Add compost to improve the soil
- Rake and smooth the soil, tamp it down and press the seeds down every few inches
- Keep the area moist for germination
- Thin to the strongest seedling every 14 inches
Care And Maintenance
- Irrigate consistently to establish the plants, and then irrigate as needed, espeicially during dry periods
- Deadhead the spent flowers to encourage new blooms and to keep the plant looking tidy
- Mulch around the base of the plant to suppress weeds and to help hold in moisture
- Watch for pests or disease and remove any damaged foliage
- When about half of the flowers are opened on the stem, cut the stem for putting in the vase