I love its long tubular blooms and sweet fragrance. I love its big, bold, felty leaves that are sticky to the touch (the better to bind bad bugs). I love the tall forms with stately white blooms, and I love the shorter forms with blooms in shades of red, pink and white, and some with even a tinge of green.
Five types of nicotiana are blooming in my garden right now, ranging in height from 12 inches to over six feet, most of them self-seeded from plants I’ve bought at Annie’s Annuals.
I have some Nicotiana alata grandiflora in the sunny side alley beside the tomatoes. It’s very fragrant. A green-tinged Nicotiana langsdorfii has been hanging out in a flowerpot beside a fern for the past two or three years. A pink Nicotiana mutabilisis by the back fence is serving as a trellis for a red and white sweet pea, which is also self-seeded. And red, rose and pink variations of Nicotiana alata x sanderae “Crimson Bedder” are scattered throughout my back garden.
And then there’s the grand and statuesque Nicotiana sylvestris “Only the Lonely,” a plant which hails from South America by way of Annie’s. It sprouted on its own near my back porch, not far the hose bib ( a good move, considering the current drought) and alongside some sheltering flowerpots. I recognized the small basal cluster of fuzzy leaves as a “nicotiana” over the winter, so I didn’t pull it out while weeding. I even threw a little water on it once in a while this spring.
It thrived. It got bigger …
and bigger … and now it’s about a foot taller than me.
It’s glorious. It’s been blooming and expanding for about two months now, and I admire it daily. I hope it seeds freely and I get to enjoy its offspring next year.