How To Grow Flowering Tobacco

Discover the beauty and intoxicating fragrance of flowering (or jasmine) tobacco.

May 26, 2017
flowering jasmine tobacco
Gratysanna/ Getty

Flowering or jasmine tobacco (Nicotiana alatais mainly grown as an ornamental plant (you're not going to harvest actual tobacco from this!).

Numerous cultivars and hybrids are derived from it, but before you choose some fancy new variety, know that hybrids and red-flowerd types have little or no scent. Old-fashioned, white-flowered types of flowering tobacco, on the other hand, tend to be quite fragrant, especially at night. 

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Here's what you need to know to grow flowering tobacco in your own yard or garden.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

Plant Particulars 

Height: 18-36 inches 
Spread: 12 to 14 inches 
Shape: Plant form lush rosettes of broad, oval to pointed, green leaves and many-branched stems; both the stems and leaves are sticky and hairy. 
Color: White, pink, red, purple 
Bloom time: Spring, summer 
Light needs: Full sun to partial shade 
Soil: Average to moist, well-drained soil with organic matter. 

Related: 10 Tips For Growing A Stunning Organic Flower Garden On A Budget

Growing Guidelines 

Buy nicotiana transplants in the spring, or grow your own by starting seeds (you can buy them right on Amazon) indoors 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. Don't cover the fine seed; just press it into the soil and enclose the pot in a plastic bag until seedlings appear. Set seedlings out 10-12 inches apart after the last frost date. Water during dry spells. Cut out spent stems to prolong the bloom season. Plants may self-sow. 

Related: The 60 Most Fragrant Flowers Across The World

Landscape Uses

Excellent as a filler or accent in beds and borders. Grow some in the cutting garden for fresh flowers. Plant fragrant, white-flowered types around outdoor sitting areas for evening enjoyment. Try compact types in containers. 

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