Growing tobacco seeds in your garden
- Tobacco is a fragrant annual with beautiful, abundant blooms
- A plant with a long and fascinating history
- Trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds
- One tobacco flower produces around 3,000 seeds
tobacco's journey through time
The history of tobacco is inextricably bound up with the history of commerce and economy in the Americas. First domesticated by Native Americans some 2,000 years ago, this tender perennial was introduced to Europeans upon their arrival in the New World. It quickly gained in popularity, based largely on its reputation as a medicinal, and by the 17th century it was being exchanged as currency in the British colonies. Virginia even made it legal tender in 1642!
As time went on and medical science advanced, the reputed cure-all properties of nicotine were revealed to be highly exaggerated, but by then recreational consumption had firmly cemented its place as a cash crop, despite the drawbacks of use. If you want to enjoy tobacco without any negatives, plant one of our varieties in your garden and revel in the beautiful blossoms and beguiling scent of this ornamental species also known as jasmine tobacco, sweet tobacco, and woodland tobacco.
handling and planting tobacco seeds
Do handle tobacco with care, as some people have an allergic reaction to the stems and leaves, and do not ingest or smoke ornamental tobacco. Keep plants out of reach of pets.
Due to their tiny size (almost microscopic), tobacco seeds are generally easier to start indoors, though they can be direct sown in properly prepared soil. Spread tobacco seeds evenly across the surface of the growing medium and keep moist. Germination typically takes two to three weeks, though heating mats can speed it along. When the tiny seedlings reach about 1/3 inch tall, they can be transferred into planting pots to be moved outside after the last frost. Plants grow quickly and bloom in the early summer, with flowers opening in late afternoon to perfume the evening with their sweet scent.
where to plant your tobacco
Jasmine tobacco prefers full sun or partial shade. Plant with other pollinator-attracting flowers like cosmos, swamp milkweed, and catchfly for a bird or butterfly garden, or along the edges of vegetable beds to deter deer.
To learn more about planting, growing, and caring for ornamental tobacco, see our Tobacco Seeds Planting Guide.