Nicotiana 

photo courtesy All-America Selections ('Perfume Deep Purple')

(ni-co-she-aa’nah)

Common name: Flowering Tobacco, Ornamental Tobacco

Family: Solanaceae, Nightshade

Height x width: 12-24" for cultivars generally, species to 5’

Growth rate: moderate to fast

Foliage: alternate, sticky (viscid-pubescent), often larger basal leaves, spoon-to variousy shaped depending on species, generally 2-10" long being smaller in cultivars

Flowers: tubular (salverform), 2-4" long being shorter in cultivars, quite fragrant especially in evenings and calm days, grouped in open racemes or panicles; pink, red, white, green; summer to early fall

Hardiness: annual

Soil: prefers well-drained, moist

Light: prefers full sun, tolerates part shade

Pests and Problems: viruses, aphids especially young plants, occasionally flea beetles

Landscape habit, uses: depending on cultivar/species and height front to back of borders, massed cultivars, short-lived cut flower; fragrant gardens especially near patios and windows; shorter cultivars in planters and pots; tall species excellent for tropical effects in gardens

Other interest: sap is poisonous, species rustica was one first introduced to Europe and was commonly source of nicotine insecticides early in 20th century; related to smoking tobacco (tabacum); named for Jean Nicot (1530-1600), the French consul to Portugal who introduced this genus to France; native to Tropical America, Australia

Other culture: overfertilizing may lead to larger plants needing staking, poor blooms

Propagation: purchased seeds for cultivars, uncovered, indoors 10 weeks before last spring frost

Species:of the 67 species, the following are most commonly used ornamentally

Cultivars: all of x sanderae, those marked * are most commonly seen
 
Cultivar fragrant flowers height, in. other
Breakthrough Mix yes mix 12-15 very early, compact
Domino series yes mixed and singles 12-18 early, fls open in day
‘Fragrant Cloud’ yes white 30-36 large fls
Havana series no white, green 12-15 ‘Appleblossom’ pink,green
‘Lime Green’ no yellowish green 24-30 upright habit
Merlin series no purple, pink, lime, white 9-12 bred for pots
Metro series no red, pink, white, lime 12-15 vibrant colors
*Nicki series yes mixed and singles 15-18 bright colors
Sensation Mix yes pink, red, white 24-30 fls keep open in day
Starship series no red, pink, white, lime 12-15 weather tolerant


©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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