While we are a rare breed, I am a native Tarheel.  Yes, born and bread…and yes, my blood is Carolina blue too(hehehe).  And anyone who knows the slightest bit of NC history knows that 3/4s of the state was built on tobacco. Yep, I have heard a many of stories of hard labor teens “barnin’ tobacca.” Now, with the infinite amount of research about the dangers of smoking, the NC cash crop for centuries has now garnered a horrific reputation.

Well I am hear to put a new spin on a different variety of tobacco..the flowering kind: Nicotiana. That’s right– a “must have” for a Carolina gardener and frankly, anywhere traditional tobacco grows. It is an annual plant that has been bred for its ornamental value and comes from seed. They come in an array of colors including white, yellow, pink, lavendar…The plant produces dainty little florets that sort of dangle on the top of the plant.

Nouvea Tobacco: Nicotiana--A great beginner plant

This is a must have for any beginner.  It is sure to produce, but here are some growing tips for this nouveau tobacco:

1) It will take partial shade to full sun.  I think the more sun the happier(except you do have to water more in full sun).

2)It prefers well-drainded soil with rich organic matter…although I did throw some seeds in my clay mess of a bed and some did grow, but they were far smaller than the ones I have this year in a 2:1 top soil-compost mix. Plant it about 8-12 inches apart…those leaves do expand quickly.  I had to move a few this because I didn’t give them enough room to grow.

3)You can plant the seeds after the risk of frost is over up until mid June(if the weather is normal), otherwise they have a hard time starting out with the brutal summer temps.  Once established they will grow like a weed–approximately 3 ft tall. I planted mine a little late this year, but luckily I had a week of mild weather and some good rain.

That’s the dirt on flowering tobacco.  Perhaps this new version will give tobacco the makeover it needs to still be enjoyed by North Carolinians and Americans alike.

Happy Gardening.

melissa

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