Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nicotiana Love...

Someone asked about Nicotiana sylvestris on Twitter this morning, and I went out to snap a picture of mine; wow, had it grown! It was about 6:30, and the fragrance was still intense. Much sweeter than the N. alata grandiflora next to it..more like Regal Lilies. And massive? There's a full-size tomato cage in there!

This was grown from seed casually tossed in my east-facing nursery bed last spring, collected from an equally impressive specimen at the Elizabeth Gamble Garden in Palo Alto California.

Nicotianas seem to be happiest where they seed themselves... they sulk if transplanted beyond seedling stage, althought they'll forgive you eventually. Light but regular water is keeping my fellow lush...he'd probably be fine with less.

N. sylvestris is a great plant to tuck in an odd corner to perfume summer nights. But beware! Each flower will produce a seed capsule bursting with tiny seeds! But it's not a thug about it...and good deadheading will keep side shoots coming, so you'll be motivated to keep things tidy.


  1. You know, I don't think I have ever platned one of these - and I don't know why, because I love a garden that is scented in the evening. How long is its bloom season?

  2. Both of these have been on my list forever. Delightful to see your robust specimens, and to get the growing tips. I guess in a few years the internet will be able to transmit fragrance too?

  3. @susan blooms until the cows come home!

    @DP...LOL have been reading tweets from BookExpo America happening this week in NYC...scratch-n-sniff was mentioned!

  4. Very impressive! I grew it during my garden's first summer - it filled out quickly and added so much to a brand new garden-from-scratch. Sadly, I no longer room for such this vigorous babe, but the memories remain. xo

  5. Thanks Alice! I suspect this is a plant that I will always have in the garden, whether I want it or not (like alyssum, poppies and nasturtium) and that's just fine with me!!! Glad you visited...