Nifty Nicotiana

Today was fairly mild with some very light snow/sprinkles.  We had a small turnout at the Horticulture Center this morning. Janice was in to work on some Garden Expo (this weekend!) details and Spring Plant Sale (Mother’s Day weekend!) signage.  Urban came in for some lights processing and Larry H. was out again collecting remnant lights from the Holiday Lights Show out in the gardens.  We also saw Dick H., Gary S. and some others today.  I continue to prepare for the Garden Expo this weekend and Big John and I will set up the booth tomorrow which helps avoid the crazy set-up influx on Friday before the event starts at 3 pm.  See for information on this fun and educational event.  I’m also trying to finish my seed ordering and it’s coming along slowly but surely.
I actually ordered seed of some annual flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sp.) selections today including the Nicotiana langsdorfii (seen above and further below).  The flowering tobaccos have always performed well for us and in 2007, we had a vast collection of these selections (see bottom photo).  While they prefer decent soils and adequate moisture, they are certainly heat tolerant and are blooming “power houses” throughout the summer.  I’m certainly a huge fan of these annuals.  We like some of the taller species that also exhibit a strong scent, particularly in the early evening hours.  Look for Nicotiana sylvestris and Nicotiana alata selections for some of the best scent.  Some of the more modern and compact varieties lack the scent but not the beautiful, tubular flowers.  If scent is desired, research your selections prior to purchasing.  With the taller varieties, when we see the flowers waning in the mid-summer, we’ll cut the primary flower stalk back severely (down to the bottom set of leaves) which encourages a brand new stalk with strong flowering until frost.  This is what I consider “severe deadheading”!  These same species will drop lots of viable seed so plan on seeing some babies the following spring.  Below are just some of the many varieties offered in our seed catalogs and at local nurseries.  They are all easy to grow from seed.
 ‘Whisper Appleblossom’
Nicotiana langsdorfii (above and below)


 ‘Perfume Deep Purple’
 ‘Perfume Lime’
‘Avalon Bright Pink’
 Nicotiana suaveolens
Nicotiana alata ‘Grandiflora’
 Nicotiana sylvestris (above and below)


 Nicotiana sylvestris (above and below)


Nicotiana sylvestris ‘Only the Lonely’
 ‘Nikki Red’
 ‘Starmaker Pink Picotee’
 ‘Starmaker Rose’
 ‘Starmaker White’
Nicotiana knightiana
 Nicotiana Collection at RBG (2007)

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