Nicotiana alata, or Jasmine Tobacco, is a coarse perennial tobacco native to warm temperate South America. Plant in containers or the landscape will reach 3-4.5 feet (0.9-1.4 m) tall and may have a few basal branches. The ovate to elliptic leaves will reach 4-10 inches (10-25.5 cm) long. It is one of the most fragrant of the tobaccos. Whether grown in container or in the landscape, this plant is very showy and easy to grow. There are many cultivars available with colors ranging from white to green to dark reds. All plant parts are considered poisonous.
Blooming: In the greenhouse, the plant will easily bloom within 10-12 weeks after sowing. The few flowered racemes have chalky white corollas and are greenish white outside. Flowers are 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) long and approximately 2 inches (5 cm) across.
Culture: Nicotiana alata need full sun to partial shade with a moist rich soil mix when grown in containers. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 1 part loam and sand. To this mix, we add 1 cup hydrated lime to adjust pH and 1 cup 14-14-14 Osmocote slow release fertilizer to each 0.01 cu yards of soil mix. Plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize them weekly during the growing and flowering season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. In late fall, we collect seeds for the next generation, and we allow the plants to die off. This is a lot easier than trying to keep the plants growing all winter long.
Propagation: Nicotiana alata is very easily propagated from seed. Seed will germinate 14-21 days after sowing.
Nicotiana alata was featured as Plant of the Week February 22-28, 2008.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.