Flowering Tobacco

It looks like we have some snow on the way!  That didn’t stop a hearty turnout of volunteers (Urban, Kathy P., Dennis, Bill, Dave K. and Amy H.) from coming in to help out with Holiday Light Show (HLS) take down efforts and other duties.  Larry H. was out retrieving lights as well while I continue to gather our seed orders together.  We also saw Mark S.  As I was ordering some various flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sp.) selections this morning, I thought it would be a great blog topic.  Nice shot above of ‘Bella’ flowering tobacco (Nicotiana alata x mutabilis) at the Chicago Botanic Garden (Glencoe, IL).  I’m absolutely sure I’ve blogged about this amazing annual in the past but have forged ahead with a new posting to emphasize the value of this beautiful annual in the gardens.  Years ago we did a flowering tobacco display (see bottom photo) that included well over 60 different species, hybrids and varieties.  Many are quite fragrant (not all!), particularly at dusk and the trumpet shaped blooms are all attractive to hummingbirds.  With heights (in our climate) ranging from 8″ tall up to 6′ tall, this annual can add significant interest in the full sun garden.  Nicotiana will also tolerate part shade but is happiest in full sun with decent soil and adequate moisture.  Some selections are strong reseeders (N. sylvestris) but it’s not hard to thin them out in spring.  On occasion, when the taller selections start to show seed pods, we’ll cut that entire stalk down to the bottom set of leaves which is considered severe “deadheading” which encourages another strong, blooming stalk (within 2 weeks) which extends flowering interest later in the season (and lessens the amount of reseeding too!). These photos are just a smattering of the selections available for the home gardener.

Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’ (above and below)

Nicotiana hybrida ‘Tinkerbell’ (above)

Nicotiana hybrida ‘Whisper Appleblossom’ (above)

Nicotiana x sanderae ‘Avalon Bright Pink’

Nicotiana sylvestris ‘Only the Lonely’ (above and below)

Nicotiana langsdorfii (above and three below) – my FAVORITE!

Nicotiana x sanderae ‘Perfume Purple’

Nicotiana x sanderae ‘Perfume White’

Nicotiana alata ‘Nikki Red’

Nicotiana x sanderae ‘Perfume Lime’

Nicotiana alata ‘Starmaker Deep Red’

Nicotiana alata ‘Starmaker Deep Lime’

Nicotiana alata ‘Pink Picotee’

Nicotiana alata ‘Starmaker Rose’

Nicotiana alata ‘Starmaker White’

Nicotiana sylvestris ‘Only the Lonely’ with ‘New Zealand Purple’ castor bean (Ricinus communis) – annuals

Nicotiana Collection at RBG many years ago!

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