The sweet smelling flowering tobacco can be grown from seed and produce a wonderful colour during the summer. Here are the basic facts and hints to grow a better flowering tobacco.
The facts about flowering tobacco
Beautiful, fragrant flowering tobacco plants include old varieties that perfume summer evenings with the sweet scent of jasmine. The plants form low-growing rosettes of broad fuzzy leaves, which send up tall, upright stems of trumpet-shaped flowers that preside over shorter flowering annuals, such as petunias and marigolds. All are tough and extremely heat tolerant. Flowering tobacco flowers best in full sun but plants can adapt to sites with a half day of shade.
Growing Flowering Tobacco
To plant from seeds:
- Start them indoors six weeks before the last frost.
- The seeds need light to germinate, so sprinkle them on the surface of moist potting soil.
- Put seed trays on a sunny windowsill or under grow lights and keep the soil evenly moist and at 21°C (70°F) until seeds sprout.
- Seedlings can tolerate cool soil and can be planted outdoors as soon as the danger of frost has passed.
- Work a balanced, controlled-release fertilizer into the soil before planting.
- Although adaptable, flowering tobacco grows best in slightly acidic soil. After testing the soil, amend it as needed with either garden sulphur or garden lime according to the product package directions.
- In midsummer, when the first flush of flowers begins to fade, trim the stalks back by half their height to encourage new flowering stems.
Troubleshooting flowering tobacco growth
- Make sure that plants receive a generous watering during hot, dry spells.
- Check plants occasionally for leaf- and flower-chewing green caterpillars, called tobacco hornworms. Pick off and drown them in a bowl of soapy water.
- If tiny, pear-shaped, sap-sucking aphids appear knock them off the plants with a strong spray of water from a hose
- In damp, cool weather, leaves can be disfigured by fungal gray mold, especially top leaves that catch and hold rain and dew, and lower leaves that touch wet soil. Trim off and dispose of disfigured leaves.
- Plants will recover in drier weather.
For a fragrant summer afternoon, plant a flowering tobacco and enjoy the smells of jasmine that waft through the air. And the plant is surprisingly care free.