How to Grow a Tobacco Plant


Tobacco is a green leafy plant from the genus Nicotiana and is grown as an agricultural product. Sow tobacco seeds indoors 50 to 60 days prior to the desired outdoor planting date and provide adequate sunlight and moisture to prevent thin leaf growth and spindly plants. Rotate the tobacco planting area each year so plants do not grow in the same soil more than once in a four-year rotation.

Step 1

Fill seeding trays with a sterile seed-starting medium that is dampened with water. Sprinkle the tobacco seeds on the soil and gently pat them just under the surface.

Step 2

Lightly water the soil and seeds with a spray mister. Place the tray in a bright location that has indirect sunlight. Monitor the soil moisture to prevent it from drying out during seed germination and seedling growth. Apply a 1/4 strength dose of tobacco fertilizer to the seeding tray once sprouts appear to assist with seedling growth.

Step 3

Select a planting location for tobacco that has well-draining soil and full sun. Soil that is too wet or dry will cause death to the plant during the growing season. Test the soil pH with a home test kit as tobacco plants prefer an acidic soil with a pH of 5.8. Amend the soil with ground rock sulfur to lower the pH.

Step 4

Prepare the planting area by working the soil with a tiller to a depth of 10 inches. Remove all vegetative debris and smooth the soil surface.

Step 5

Transplant the seedlings once there is no longer a danger of frost and the seedlings have reached a height of 6 to 8 inches. Space the seedlings 24 inches apart when planting.

Step 6

Water the tobacco plants to keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season. Do not allow the soil to dry out or have standing water around the plants as these conditions will damage the plants.

Step 7

Fertilize the tobacco plants one to two times a month during the growing season with a tobacco fertilizer that does not contain chlorine. Discontinue the fertilizer applications once flowers form on the plant.

Step 8

Remove the terminal bud tops from the tobacco plants as they form. This will stimulate growth on the upper leaves. Remove sucker buds that form on the leaves once they reach a length of 1 inch.

Things You'll Need

  • Seeding tray
  • Tobacco seeds
  • Sterile seed-starting medium
  • Water
  • Water mister
  • Tobacco fertilizer
  • Soil pH test
  • Ground rock sulfur
  • Tiller
  • Rake
  • Shovel


  • University of Florida: Growing Tobacco in the Home Garden
  • Grow Tobacco: How to Grow Tobacco
  • Rustic Girls: How to Grow Tobacco
Keywords: grow tobacco, plant tobacco, tobacco plant care

About this Author

Jennifer Loucks has over 10 years of experience as a former technical writer for a software development company in Wisconsin. Her writing experience includes creating software documentation and help documents for clients and staff along with training curriculum. Loucks holds a Bachelor of Science major from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls specializing in animal science and business.