Nicotiana is the botanical name for the annual flowering tobacco plant. Most smoking tobacco, however, is derived from Nicotiana ‘tabacum’, which is not grown for its flowers.
The best type for gardeners is the 2-ft tall Nicotiana ‘sylvestris’—an easy-going plant well suited to flower gardens. It has elegant long white flowers, tubular in shape, that have a lovely perfume in the evenings.
These plants can be grown from seed directly sown into the garden early in May. You will then have lovely white flowers July to October. It is not a fussy plant as it seems to grow almost everywhere, including in the shade.
Its common names are Flowering Tobacco and Woodland Tobacco, and for minimum effort a gardener gets maximum results. They can even last a week without being watered if you happen to forget about them.
They will also self-sow for the following year if you do not use a mulch that includes a seed germination deterrent. Dead head the blooms until the end of the season but then leave some dead heads to set seeds and fall to the ground.
If your garden design calls for a shorter plant than Nicotiana ‘sylvestris’, try ‘alata’, which, as well as being shorter, also has a stronger scent.
The deer don’t bother these sweet-smelling plants, so far at least.
This is Moya Andrews, and today we focused on harvesting flowers.