- Author: Mary B. Gabbard
Blogging is a wonderful reason for me to visit the local Herb Farm in search of an earthly inspiration. As I forage for ideas, I ask the staff, what’s on the mind of customers as they wander the grounds? Most commonly the question, is it too late to plant tomatoes? definitely yes - too late, and to short of a blog, scratch that! Next thought, pick the first plant that catches my eye and learn something new. Two rules: it must be a plant I’m not familiar with; and has to be a flowering plant. Instantly, I am drawn to a plant with broad, deep green leaves and a center shoot that has fine, tubular, bell-shaped flowers. The flower color is a unique lime-green, similar to the color of a Granny Smith apple, with a striking contrast of blue anthers. Definitely attractive to hummingbirds! Of note, the flowers are scentless.
The tag reads: Tobacco, Huichol (Nicotiana landsdorfil). After a little research, I think I’ve picked quite an interesting plant and one that I will enjoy having in my garden. Commonly known as flowering tobacco, a cousin of the regular tobacco plants as well as the potato, tomato, eggplant, pepper, and petunia plants. All parts of this plant are toxic and should not be ingested. Historically, Huichol is used as a ceremonial smoking tobacco.
The yellow-green flower mixes readily with other colors and makes this plant a great companion for other garden plants and grasses. I am going to use this plant as a border in front of my purple smoke bush, I think the contrast of the lime-green flower against the purple leaves of the smoke bush will be beautiful. If you decide to add this plant to your garden, it prefers moist but well-drained soil rich in organic matter, full sun or part shade.
A perfect plant for Vacaville and Solano County because it prefers lots of heat, sun, similar to its native land of Brazil.
Nicotiana langsdorfil will grow 3’ tall with branching stems. The leaves are very sticky. It can be used in your garden in beds and borders, container, specimen plant or focal point. Problems that may arise are fairly typical: aphids, caterpillars, spider mites, downy mildew, and root rot.