Plant Description

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 and the leaves can wilt badly. In late spring and summer, it sends up spires up to 1.5 m tall massed with long, white, tubular flowers, looking rather like a candelabra. The blooms are fragrant at night. Strictly speaking a perennial, with a tuberous rootstock, it seems best grow as annual, as better specimens are formed from plants propagated by seed each year. Once you have grown it in your garden, you will find many self-seedlings appearing each spring: I pull most out and just let a few of them remain 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.

 

Nicotiana sylvestris
Out now in my Sydney garden.
Flowers from November to January.
Plant Family: Solanaceae

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