Plant Description

Nicotiana mutabilis

Nicotiana mutabilis

Flowering tobacco plants generally do well in Sydney, though some are annuals and self-seed from year to year where they are happy. This lovely species was given to me several years ago as 'Robyn's tobacco plant' and has proved soundly perennial. It has a large soft rosette of basal leaves, and through much of the year, it sends up branched spires (ht 1-1.3m) of pretty funnel-shaped flowers which change colour from white, to pale pink to rose pink as they age, giving a billowing, multicoloured effect like a packet of pastel marshmallows.

The plant is a recent discovery, and was found in the wild in southern Brazil, being first documented in 2002. It enjoys a sunny spot with fair, but not overly rich soil. I once took a cutting of it to see if I could propagate it this way, and to my joy the cutting succeeded, so I have been able to pass it on to friends. I haven't found that it has self-seeded in my garden, but other gardeners have (as shown in the photo, above!), and it can be obtained in seed packets overseas. It associates well with pretty blue flowers, as shown in the photo, or any soft colour schemes.

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.


Nicotiana mutabilis
Out now in my Sydney garden.
Flowers Jan, Apr, May, Jun, Jly, Sep, Oct, Nov
Plant Family: Solanaceae