Nicotiana langsdorffii is a species of ornamental tobacco that blooms with the most astonishing lime green trumpets, tangy falling gently in very loose clusters. It one of those plants that deserves its present high reputation.
The ideal summer annual with a long flowering season, from midsummer until the first frosts and very attractive to pollinating insects.
The chartreuse green flowers add an important ingredient to the garden's palette of colours, with a colour rarely found outside the tobacco family yet fitting in to a great variety of planting schemes.
The long trumpets consist of a long corolla with five tubular petals, which widens sharply into five roughly scalloped lobes contained a star and five long stamens. The panicles of drooping bells are held on fishing-rod stems and grow to around 70 to 100cm (24 to 36in) tall.
A very original for the garden and very easy to grow, the long sprays are also great for arranging and, if you lift up one of the upturned trumpet bells and look inside, you will see that the pollen is, intriguingly, blue.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
Nicotiana langsdorffii has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Sowing: Sow indoors from late spring - March to May
Nicotiana grows best in full sun in average, well-drained soil but will tolerate light shade. They are easy to start from seed and flower in about 10 weeks. Nicotiana seed is very tiny so whether you are starting seed indoors or planting directly in the garden, it may help to mix the fine seed with sand before spreading it over the ground.
Sow very thinly - there really are a lot of seeds in the pack and they germinate well. This will also prevent overcrowding when it comes to transplanting and will reduce the risk of seedlings suffering from damping off.
Start seed indoors about 4 to 8 weeks before the last frost in a flat, cells or pots that has been filled to within 6mm (¼in) of the top with moistened, seed starting mix. Sow seeds thinly on the surface and press gently into the surface. Do not cover the seeds, as nicotiana needs light to germinate. Place in a warm location, a room temperature of (70 to 75°F) is ideal. Keep moist, watering from the base of the pots, never on top of the seeds.
Seeds begin to germinate in 10 to 14 days at temperatures of 18 to 22°C (65 to 68°F) When they have a couple of sets of leaves, thin to the strongest plant by pinching or cutting excess seedlings at the soil line.
Plant outdoors after all danger of frost. Before transplanting the tender seedlings into the garden they need to be hardened-off, allowing them to adjust to the outdoor conditions. Place seedlings outdoors in a shaded or protected location for short periods of time, about 4 hours per day to start. Each day, leave plants outdoors for a couple hours longer and gradually move into brighter light conditions. Check the soil often to make sure it's moist and water if necessary. After 10 to 14 days plant in the garden.
Nicotiana can also be planted outdoors after the last frost directly where plants are to grow. Sow seeds on the surface and water in lightly to prevent the tiny seeds from washing or blowing away.
Plant in fertile, moist free-draining soil in full sun to partial shade in a sheltered position. It will appreciate rotted organic matter being added to the soil before planting.
Deadhead to prolong flowering and encourage new flower buds. Leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted.
Cottage/Informal, Beds and borders, Low Maintenance, Sub-Tropical
Nicotiana garden species are native to tropical South America, primarily Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. Introduced into garden cultivation in the early 1800's it was prized for its white, highly scented flowers that opened at night.
Nicotiana langsdorffii is native to Brazil. Nicotiana belongs to the large and diverse Solanaceae or Nightshade family, which includes many important edible and ornamental plants. Its closest flower relative is the petunia and it is also related to tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and potatoes. There are over 60 species of nicotianas but only a few are important in the ornamental flower garden.
The story of ornamental flowering tobaccos is overshadowed by the well-documented travels of smoking tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum from the New World to cultures around the globe. The first of the ornamental nicotianas to gain garden popularity was Nicotiana alata. Introduced into garden cultivation in the United States and England in the early 1800's it was prized for its white, highly scented flowers that opened at night.
The poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote "Where at dusk the dumb white nicotine awakes and utters her fragrance in a garden sleeping."
The genus name was designated by Linnaeus in 1753, however it was originally named by Leonhart Fuchs (1501-1566) who coined the name ‘Nicotiana’ after Frenchman Jean Nicot, ambassador to Portugal from 1559-1561.
It is reported that he sent seeds of the plant to Francois II and the French court c.1559 and brought powdered tobacco to France to cure the Queen's son of migraine headaches. Nicot is also credited as the first to bring the plant to Europe but this is incorrect as it was known in the Low Countries after being brought there by Spanish merchants in the 1540’s. Knowledge of the plant by Europeans dates from 1492 when Columbus’s sailors saw it being smoked in Cuba and Haiti.
The genus is named for George Heinrich, Freiherr von Langsdorff the 18th century German botanist. It is sometimes spelled lansdorfii or langsdorfii and is pronounced langs-dorf-ee-eye
Nicotiana langsdorffii is commonly referred to as Langsdorff's tobacco. Many species of Nicotiana are cultivated as ornamental garden plants. Nicotiana tabacum is the species that is grown worldwide for production of tobacco leaf for cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Grigorij Ivanovic Langsdorff:
George Heinrich von Langsdorff, Baron de Langsdorff (1774-1852) was a German-Russian naturalist and explorer, as well as a Russian diplomat, better known by his Russian first name, Grigori (Gregory) Ivanovitch. He was a member and correspondent of the Russian Imperial Academy of Sciences and a respected physician, graduated in medicine and natural history at the University of Göttingen, Germany.
Langsdorff first participated as naturalist and physician in the great Russian scientific circumnavigation expedition commanded by Ivan Fedorovich Kruzenshtern, from 1803 to 1805. He left the expedition in Kamchatka to explore the Aleutians, Kodiak and Sitka, and returned from San Francisco by ship to Siberia and thence to Saint Petersburg by land, arriving in 1808.
In 1813 Langsdorff was nominated consul general of Russia in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He acquired a farm (named 'Mandioca', or manioc) in the north of Rio and collected plants, animals and minerals. He hosted and entertained foreign naturalists and scientists, such as Johann Baptist von Spix (1781-1826) and Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius (1794-1868), and explored the flora, fauna and geography of the province of Minas Gerais with French naturalist Augustin Saint-Hilaire from 1813 to 1820.
A recent study found that Langsdorff has 1,500 descendants in Brazil, among them the most famous is Luma de Oliveira, a Brazilian carnival queen.
- Awarded the RHS Award of Garden Merit
- Additional Information
Packet Size 250mg Average Seed Count 2,500 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 10,000 seeds per gram Family Solanaceae Genus Nicotiana Species langsdorffii Common Name Langsdorff's tobacco Hardiness Tender Perennial often used as an Annual Flowers Chartreuse Green Natural Flower Time June to September Height 90-120cm (36-48in) Spread 55cm (22in) Position Full Sun to Partial Shade (Needs shade in warmer regions) Soil Rich, moist soil Germination 10 to 14 days at 18-22°C (65-68°F)