Nicotina alata (Tobacco Jamine)

greyandamyMarch 4, 2011

Nicotina alata (Tobacco Jamine), I have growing well from seed (just a few). I know it's reportedly fragrant in evening, and may self sow. I know it gets 3-4 ft tall. That's all I know.

How wide does it get, i.e... would it be suitable for containers? Is it as fragrant as a jasmine-type plant? Could it be overwintered indoors? Does it need staked? Deadheaded? Any opinions on this plant?



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here are mine from 2004 (white flowers on left side). they are strongly fragrant (with notes of baby powder to me) if you get the unimproved strain. the newer, imroved selections with colored flowers are not fragrant to my nose.
i stake them but this bed receives little direct sunlight except in the morning but enough so that daylilies will flower alongside them. these grow no taller than 2' or so and the basal leaves make them about a foot wide. i find no seedlings but these return from the roots each year as perennials. they appear to loose some gusto over the years and are not nearly as robust as they were so i may need to replace them.
they attract the attention of sphinx moths in the evenings. these may not be the same as what you have.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 3:36PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Hi, Amy. I grew these for several years in my garden at another house. I loved them. They truly are wonderful. The fragrance is lovely, but I'm sorry I can't remember details of it. They grow in the form of hostas-- a ring of broad, flattish leaves, with a tall flower stalk rising up in the middle. I think there were a few smaller leaves on the flower stalk, but not sure.

This is quite a big plant-- the ring of leaves is 18 to 24" in diameter. It needs full sun or at least quite a lot of sun to grow strong and develop the fragrance. They do self-sow if you leave the seed pods on the plant.

I did try them in pots a few years ago. The trouble was that it is a big plant, with a root system to match, and it filled the pots very quickly with roots. It needs full sun, so even in a large pot, it dries out very quickly, needing water at least twice a day in the hot summer (just when it is getting ready to bloom). I very quickly decided they weren't worth trying to grow that way.

Wintering inside-- I just don't think they are suited for that. The light isn't strong enough. I don't believe they could grow strong enough to bloom, much less develop a fragrance.

There are some smaller nicotianas that have a fragrance (tho not all do-- be careful there). These would be more suited to pots, but even these will turn out to be a watering hassle in hot summer unless the pot is huge -- bigger than 16" anyway.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 3:43PM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

What a beautiful garden-- just ravishing! I do envy you being able to have such a lovely spot.

PS I agree that you want to by the original species type if you have the space. The hybrids are not as fragrant (not as beautiful either)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2011 at 3:47PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

One summer I grew dozens of these wonderful plants in pots. They did very well and bloomed all summer, but I did have to water them every day and fertilize heavily during the heat of summer. I grew maybe 3-5 plants per 16" pot. If I did it all over again, I would limit it to 2-3 plants maximum per pot that size to give them ample room to expand and do their thing. They really are attractive and very easy to grow. I grew 'Fragrant Cloud'.

They do have a nice fragrance, but it is never more than delicate to my nose. The old-fashioned vining petunias I was also growing that year completely overwhelmed them when it came to delicious, pervasive, amazing, powerful fragrance. But many people rave about nicotianas, so it just must be a problem with my smeller.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 8:22AM
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The photos WERE GORGEOUS!!! To keep my plants in pots to a minimum, they will eventually go in ground (where is the question)... The seedlings were leftovers that germinated from Select seeds, supposed to be a very very intenesly fragrant variety (though probably not as much as Sylvestris)... It will be interesting.. THANKS EVERYONE!!!!!


    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 11:08AM
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