Also called jasmine tobacco, sweet tobacco, winged tobacco, tanbaku, and Persian tobacco, this annual or tender herbaceous perennial is native from southern Brazil to northeastern Argentina and is a member of the nightshade family, Solonaceae, that also includes tomato, eggplant, and petunia. The plant grows 3-5′ tall and has 6-12″ long spatulate leaves. The basal leaves are attached to the stem by a winged petiole while the upper leaves are smaller and sessile. Beginning in June, long-tubed, 5-petaled flowers appear over a long bloom season. The flowers are white to yellowish green, open at night, and emit a pleasant fragrance. Cultivars are available that vary in plant size, flower color and fragrance but they tend to be less fragrant than the species and are open during the day. Flowering tobacco is valued for its fragrance and is especially appropriate for patio containers, and moon and fragrance gardens. The genus name, Nicotiana, honors Jean Nicot (1530-1600), French diplomat and scholar, who brought tobacco to France. The specific epithet, alata, is the Latin word meaning winged, and refers to the petiole.

Type: Annual or herbaceous tender perennial

Bloom: White to yellowish green, open at night with pleasant fragrance; cultivars open during the day, and may be red, pink, or yellow.

Size: 3-5′ H x 1-2′ W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained; does not tolerate drought

Hardiness: Zones 10-11

Care: Deadhead to encourage rebloom

Pests and Diseases: Tobacco mosaic virus, aphids, tobacco budworms

Propagation: Seed

Companion Plants: Moonflower, agapanthus, nasturtium

Outstanding Selections: (Not as fragrant as species but attract butterflies and bees)

‘Baby Bella Antique Red’ (red with green flowers)

‘Grandiflora’ (large creamy white, very fragrant flowers; tolerates light shade)

‘Lime Green’ (chartreuse flowers)

‘Saratoga Rose’ (bushy; rose colored flowers)

    Photo Credit: Wikipedia

    By Karen