Nicotiana, or flowering tobacco, is an annual flower related to the tobacco plants of commerce, and bred for its ornamental value.
Description: A low rosette of large, flat, velvety leaves supports the tall flowering stems covered with many star-shaped flowers. Flower colors include white, pink, maroon, lavender, green, red, and yellow. The plants can grow up to three feet tall, but dwarf forms are also popular.
How to grow: Nicotiana grows best in fertile, humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil in partial shade or full sun in cooler areas. They are tough plants that will tolerate high temperatures. Transplant to the garden when all danger of frost has passed, spacing 8 to 12 inches apart.
Propagation: Seeds may be sown in place, thinning the seedlings to the right spacing. Otherwise, start the plants indoors six to eight weeks prior to planting out. Seeds germinate in 10 to 20 days at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Don't cover seeds; they need light to germinate.
Uses: Nicotiana is a plant that can give much-needed height to beds and borders. Group it in clusters for more impact. Avoid planting it in dusty places.
Scientific name: Nicotiana alata grandiflora
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