Nicotiana sylvestris

Nicotiana sylvestris

This Nicotiana, which is native to Argentina, is the tallest Nicotiana that I grow. It needs plenty of space for its enormous lush basal leaves, which can spread up to 1 m wide! Of all the Nicotiana species, this one copes best with shade, even deep shade, because if grown in full sun, the flowers close up during the day. In summer, it sends up spires up to 1.5 m tall massed with long, white, tubular flowers, looking rather like a candelabra. Like many of the species, the blooms are fragrant. This one seems to be an annual or short-lived perennial in my garden and is propagated by seed. I just let a few of the self-seedlings remain each spring and enjoy their amazing display each summer.

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.

Best grown from seed.

Flowers in January, December.