Tobacco

Nicotiana langsdorffii

Photo/Illustration: 
Steve Silk
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Tobacco (Nicotiana langsdorffii)
nih-koe-shee-AY-nah langs-DORF-fee-eye
Genus:  Nicotiana
Broad, deep-green leaves nearly a foot long and panicles of flowers the color of a Granny Smith apple make this Nicotiana a great companion for many other garden plants. It looks especially handsome with dark-foliaged trees or shrubs like purple smoke bush ( Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’) or ‘Diabolo’ ninebark ( Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’). It is also good with grasses. N. langsdorffii comes into its own as a moderator wherever colors clash. That chameleon-like quality makes this nicotiana’s propensity to self-sow most welcome; no matter where its progeny appear, they look great.
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Self-sows, bold foliage, green flowers that mix readily with other colors.
Care:  Grow in moist but well-drained soil rich in organic matter, in full sun or part shade. Stake if necessary.
Propagation:  To get nicotianas going, you could just scatter seed in early spring, but you won’t get much of a display until August. For earlier blooms, start the minuscule seeds inside 8 to10 weeks before the last frost date. Seeds should be surface-sown since they need light to germinate. In 10 days or so, the seeds sprout and soon form attractive little rosettes. Leaves yellow quickly if the seedlings get hungry. Feed them with a weekly draught of fish emulsion and water-soluble 20-20-20 fertilizer, using each at half strength. As the frost-free date nears, gradually acclimate seedlings to life outdoors. By early summer, nicotianas started indoors should be in bloom.
Problems:  Aphids, caterpillars, leaf miners, spider mites, viruses, stem rot, stalk rot, downy mildew, damping off, root rot.

Overview

Height
3 ft. to 6 ft.
Spread
1 ft. to 3 ft.
Growth Habit
Clumps
Growth Pace
Moderate Grower
Light
Full Sun to Part Shade
Moisture
Medium Moisture
Maintenance
Moderate
Characteristics
Showy Flowers,
Showy Foliage
Bloom Time
Summer
Flower Color
Green Flower
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Container,
Cottage Garden,
Specimen Plant/Focal Point,
Suitable as Annual
Seasonal Interest
Summer Interest
Type
Annuals

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