Nicotiana ‘White Trumpets’ was the first nicotiana I ever grew and I had no idea at the time just how big it would grow. The Nicotiana I had seen in my half sister’s garden (Felicity Higgledy, the famous traveller and first woman to bounce across Australia on a Space Hopper) was much smaller and less dominant. ‘White Trumpets’ is a very statuesque fellow, up to one and a half metres high with fragrant trumpet shaped flowers that hang down to tempt the evening pollinators. Nicotiana is pollinated mainly by moths and so releases most of it’s scent in the evening…which makes it perfect for growing near your living space.
The RHS have this to say of Nicotiana: (And we like a bit of boffin speak now and again.)
“Nicotiana can be annuals, biennials, perennials or shrubs, with simple, alternate leaves and tubular or salver-shaped, often fragrant flowers borne in racemes or panicles in summer or autumn
N. sylvestris is a branching, upright biennial to 1.5m, with a basal rosette of elliptic dark green leaves to 30cm in length, and a compact panicle of sweetly fragrant, salver-shaped white flowers to 9cm in length in summer.” RHS
Try arranging ‘White Trumpets’ in the vase with something with a bold colour…I love it with Cosmos ‘Pied Piper’ and/or Rudbeckia ‘Marmalade’
Growing Nicotiana ‘White Trumpets’ From Seed.
*I find the best way to grow Nicotiana is to start them off in pots or modules in April.
*Fill your pots with compost and water…then add a TINY pinch of seed. Nicotiana seed are really small…they germinate readily so don’t sow thickly or you will be overrun.
*DO NOT BURY YOUR SEEDS…they need light to germinate.
*I cover my module trays with a single sheet of newspaper…this keeps the moisture in…lets the air in and still allows indirect light in.
*My own vibe is to simply remove all but one seedlings that emerge into your pot…some folks like to prick out the and repot the extra…by all means do this if you wish…but it is boring….and how many plants do you need? In a 15 cell module tray thingy…will provide you with enough plants for a couple of square metres.
*If you have a sprayer…water your pots with this.
*Within a couple of weeks the seedlings should emerge.
*Within six weeks they will be ready to go out…but harden off first and check forecast for frost…if there is ANY forecast then hold off for a while…
*Space your plants to one and half foot.
*Should you wish you can grow Nicotiana ‘White Trumpets’ in containers.
….spring isn’t THAT far away! :)