How to Plant Nicotiana


There are approximately 67 species of nicotiana that are grown for their fragrant flowers and includes Nicotiana tabacum, which is cultivated for making cigars and cigarettes. Native to Australia and North and South America, nicotiana grows well throughout the United States, adding color to annual flower gardens. The trumpet-shaped, night blooming flowers produced in summer and fall range in colors of reds, greens, white and a variety of pastels. Depending on the cultivar, plants range in height from 1 to 10 feet. Nicotiana works well in butterfly gardens as it is a nectar plant for hummingbirds and as a host plant for a variety of moths.

Step 1

Select an area in the garden that receives full to partial sun throughout the day.

Step 2

Plant in an area where the soil drains well, as nicotiana grows best receiving some sunlight but tolerates partial shady conditions.

Step 3

Clean the planting area of unwanted vegetation such as weeds, grasses or other plants that will hinder the nicotiana's growth.

Step 4

Amend the planting site with compost or manure, working it into the soil to a depth of approximately 6 inches. Add approximately 1 quart of organic matter for each planting hole, depending on how many nicotiana plants are growing,

Step 5

Dig a hole approximately two times larger than the nicotiana's root ball and as deep as the plant is growing inside its container.

Step 6

Remove the nicotiana from the container and inspect its roots to see if the roots are wrapping in a circular direction or matted together. Pull any of those apart by hand so they can spread properly throughout the new planting site.

Step 7

Place the plant into the planting hole and cover it with soil, patting the soil down firmly around the plant.

Step 8

Saturate the nicotiana with water to its roots. Continue watering the plant, keeping the site moist daily for the first two weeks. Water the plant thereafter every other day, depending on local weather conditions, to keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Step 9

Fertilize the nicotiana plant weekly with a half-strength mixture of fish emulsion and a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilized mixed together. Fertilize throughout its growing season of spring through late summer to early fall.

Tips and Warnings

  • Nicotiana is a member of the nightshade family and all parts of the plant are poisonous if consumed.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Hand trowel
  • Fertilizer
  • Fish emulsion


  • Fine Gardening: Genus Nicotiana (Tobacco Plant)
  • University of Florida: Growing Tobacco in the Home Garden
  • Flower Wower: All About Nicotiana

Who Can Help

  • Flower Wower: All About Nicotiana
Keywords: growing nicotiana plants, planting nicotiana plants, nicotiana tobacco plant

About this Author

Joyce Starr is a freelance writer from Florida and owns a landscaping company and garden center. She has published articles about camping in Florida, lawncare, gardening and writes for a local gardening newsletter. She shares her love and knowledge of the outdoors and nature through her writing.