Nicotiana

This is a type of flowering tobacco that has a lot of attractive flowering varieties that can add a lot of depth and variety to a flower bed in your garden. These annual plants vary considerably – some are only a few inches in height while others can grow up to five feet in height.

Growing nicotiana:

Nicotiana can be planted in a sunny or partially shaded location in your garden in late spring, once all risk of frost has passed. It will grow best in a fertile yet well-draining soil. The plants will tolerate some drought so may be a particularly good choice in low-rainfall areas of the UK, though it will only flower at its best when the soil is kept consistently moist.

Nicotiana plants can be grown from seeds, sown indoors, or you can purchase plants within this group at a garden centre or plant nursery. To grow the tiny seeds, mix with sand to make them easier to handle and sow in trays with gravel for drainage. Always water from beneath to prevent the tiny seeds from being damaged or washed away. The seeds need a temperature of around 21 degrees to germinate and you should take care not to exclude light as that is also needed for germination to occur successfully. Seeds will take a week or two to germinate and soil should be kept moist but not damp during that time.

You should take care not to over-fertilise these plants as if you do they can have a tendency to become too leggy or leafy, creating height and foliage at the expense of flowers. They can even stop flowering all together if they receive too much food, especially at an early stage in their growth.

Flowers are formed in attractive clusters and come in a range of colours, usually white, pink, purple or red. Some will bloom briefly in early summer while other varieties will bloom until killed off by the first frosts, especially if they are deadheaded regularly to prolong the length of flowering.

Why grow nicotiana in the garden?

Nicotiana's blooms are really attractive to bees and other pollinators so are a great choice for those who are growing vegetables and need the help of the beneficial insects and also for those who want to create a wildlife garden to enjoy.

They brighten up the garden with their attractive blooms and some varieties have a pleasant fragrance too, making them appealing to human garden inhabitants as well as insects.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Nicotiana alata grandiflora