Nicotiana langsdorffii

This flowering tobacco plant, a native of Brazil, is often grown as an annual, though it is really a frost-tender perennial and will survive for a few years in our Sydney climate. It can grow around a metre tall. It has large soft leaves and flower spires massed with a haze of tiny lime-green tubular bells which can appear almost all year round, but particularly in the warmer months. The flowers feel slightly sticky. It prefers a sunny spot (though will also flower reasonably well in part shade); it is indifferent to soil type, often coming up in cracks in paving. In some gardens it will self-seed with abandon, though in others it never reappears. This may be a result of heavy mulching suffocating the tiny seeds. Like all lime-green plants, it looks brilliant with blue, purple or orange flowers, or against a background of dark purplish leaves. It is useful as a cut flower. It is rarely available in nurseries, but many keen gardeners have it and will give you a seedling if you ask. Sometimes Nicotiana will grow from cuttings, so that's worth a try too: keep the cutting in a humid, enclosed environment until it (hopefully) strikes.

The genus belongs to the family Solanaceae, which contains a number of poisonous members, and Nicotiana plants should never be ingested (or smoked!). Contact with the foliage may irritate skin, so gloves should be worn when handling the plants.

Flowers in January, February, March, August, September, October, November, December.

 Out now in my Sydney Garden.