Growing tobacco plant: location, requirements & instructions

Many do not even know that tobacco is also very easy to plant in your garden at home. We reveal everything you need to know about growing tobacco.

Growing tobacco plant: location, requirements & instructions

With a bit of prior knowledge, tobacco growing in your own garden works wonderfully [Photo: Tosoth /]

Growing tobacco ( Nicotiana ) once in your own garden is on the wish list of every committed smoker with a green thumb. But even for the abstinent hobby gardener, ornamental tobacco is a real pleasure for the eye and also a little challenge. Because for tobacco to grow and flourish, it takes a certain amount of specialist knowledge and a certain amount of time. If you want to grow tobacco in your own garden, you have the choice between decorative tobacco and smoking tobacco. If you want to decorate your garden with tobacco blossoms in summer, some of which are open all day long, you can use decorative tobacco varieties ( Nicotiana x sanderae ). For a later harvest, however, you can mostly grow Virginian tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum ) or peasant tobacco (Nicotiana rustica ), because these have a higher nicotine content in the leaves. Especially when growing smoking tobacco and young plants, the site conditions should be tobacco-friendly.

Growing tobacco plants: location and requirements

When growing tobacco, therefore, pay attention to the following soil and location requirements and you can be sure of a rich and high-quality bloom or harvest:

  • Location: Sunny to partially shaded, warm (<10 - 13 ° C is negative for yield and quality), protected from wind and weather
  • No intense sunlight, no blazing midday sun
  • Watering: a lot, groundwater level at least 1 m below ground
  • Soil: loose, humus garden soil with a proportion of sand, no waterlogging (no high proportion of clay)
  • Soil pH: 5.6 – 6.8
  • Sensitive to chlorine
  • Requires a high proportion of lime and potash

Tobacco plants do not tolerate cold. Therefore, plant the plants in a place protected from all sides from the wind and weather. This is particularly important when it comes to smoking tobacco, as wind and hail can quickly tear the leaves. This is unfavorable for further processing. If your cultivation area in the garden is not protected from the wind on all sides, it is better to set up additional wind protection. To do this, place densely growing plants, a fleece or boards on the open side of the bed.

Growing tobacco plant: location, requirements & instructions

In the right place, your tobacco plants quickly form a dense sea of leaves [Photo: Zbigniew Guzowski /]

Otherwise, a greenhouse, house or raised bed are also suitable for growing tobacco. When growing smoking tobacco, maintaining the correct crop rotation is also an advantage, because chlorine from the soil is deposited in the leaves. With grain as a preculture, you can lower the chlorine content in the soil. For the preculture, however, choose neither sugar beets ( Beta vulgaris ) nor legumes (legumes), because these lead to soil compaction or to an excessive nitrogen content. The tobacco plant, however, requires loose soil. Therefore you should avoid too high a clay content in the soil. On the other hand, tobacco can in turn serve as a preliminary plant for other crops. The tobacco culture prepares the soil optimally. Because a large part of the plant remains in the field after the harvest, a nutrient-rich mulch layer is also formed.

Instructions for growing tobacco

In the following you will find out how you can successfully prick and prick tobacco or sow it directly in the bed. We also show what is important when growing ornamental tobacco in pots.

Prefer tobacco

Tobacco plants are usually preferred in a warm house and put outside quite late in the year, after all, the plants are very sensitive to cold temperatures. These can lead to overgrowth or premature flowering. When pre-growing tobacco in the house, do the following:

  • Sowing time: from March
  • Fill the cultivation vessel (preferably heated) with cultivation soil such as our Plantura organic herb & seed soil
  • Flood the potting soil
  • Drain excess water
  • Sow seeds at a distance of about 2 cm on the ground, only press lightly, as the plants are light germinators
  • Cover the cultivation vessel with a foil hood
  • Always keep the substrate moist, but not wet (use a water atomizer)
  • Location: bright, but no direct sun; warm at 20 – 30 ° C (heating, heating mat)
  • Germination time: about 4 – 10 days
  • Prick out from the formation of the second pair of leaves
  • Transplant from 8 cm in size (after 6 – 8 weeks) after the ice saints
  • Before transplanting, immerse the root ball in water or water it vigorously

You can use several small or one large, flat container with a cover as a growing container. An indoor greenhouse is ideal for growing, after all, it is important to create a pleasant humid atmosphere for the small tobacco plants.

Growing tobacco plant: location, requirements & instructions

The cold-sensitive plants are preferred indoors [Photo: Vasiliy Koval /]

Prick out tobacco plants

When pricking out, the seedlings are separated into pots. It is best to use a mixture of peat and sand as a substrate. Also keep a planting distance of at least three centimeters. For permanent cultivation in pots, the plants are planted individually in suitable pots. When planting beds, you should plant out the self-grown tobacco plants from mid-May to the end of July. The ground should already be nicely preheated, there should be no risk of frost and the sun should shine. When planting tobacco in the bed, proceed as follows:

  • Dig up the bed deeply
  • Mix in so much sand into the garden soil that a loose, slightly granular structure is created
  • Mix in mature compost
  • Water the bed about 1 hour before planting
  • Draw rows of plants at a distance of 50 cm
  • Planting hole: 5 – 8 cm in diameter
  • Sort out weak plants, plant only the strongest
  • Plant plants in double rows at a distance of 30 – 50 cm
  • Place plants with roots and 2 cm of the shoot in the planting hole
  • Tap the earth lightly
  • Start fertilization with special tobacco fertilizers or potash and lime-heavy fertilizers
  • Put up a windbreak if necessary
  • Water a lot, especially during the growing season

In addition, keep the young plants that have not yet been planted as a reserve and simply continue to cultivate them indoors. In this way, you can compensate for failures if necessary. The planting distance depends on the leaf size of the variety: Small-leaved varieties are planted more densely than those with large leaves. In the end, the plants should be so far apart that they do not shade each other. The lowering when planting also increases the stability of the shoot and is intended to prevent twisting. If the plants are starting to shoot up quickly, you should add soil to the base of the stem. This also stabilizes the stem and stimulates the growth of side roots.

Note : You can acclimate your young plants slowly before planting them out in order to make the change from the warm house to the garden more bearable. Instead, the mini tobacco is poured less on the days before planting and is put in a pot in a sheltered place in the garden during the day.

Growing tobacco plant: location, requirements & instructions

Tobacco in your own garden is a bit of a challenge, but it can be worth it in the end [Photo: PunyaFamily /]

Sow tobacco in the bed

Alternatively, you can also sow your tobacco directly into the bed. Depending on the weather, this happens between the end of March and mid-April at the earliest. However, the plants must no longer get frost. Even temperatures above zero cause problems for the plants if the temperature fluctuations are too great. In cold regions, you should therefore only pull them up outside under glass. In warmer regions it is also sufficient to cover the bed with a thin layer of grass, straw or brushwood after sowing.

When growing smoking tobacco, the focus is on the most lush foliage possible. You can support this by reducing the flowering of the plants. The valuable vigor is not put into the bloom and seed formation, but rather into the foliage and its quality. The following steps must be carried out during the cultivation of tobacco in order to be able to bring in a high harvest:

  • Heads: After bud formation, inflorescences are cut off 5 – 10 cm below the first flowering point
  • Pruning: Side shoots are removed as soon as they develop
  • Leave a few buds for seed production / propagation

Aside from getting a bigger, better quality harvest, the top down of your tobacco also helps prevent blue mold. This is favored by wilting flowers.

Grow decorative tobacco in the pot

Ornamental tobacco varieties convince with flowers in beautiful colors and are wonderfully suitable for closing gaps in beds or as background plants due to their upright, slender growth. Depending on the variety, the strongly to non-fragrant flowers do not open until the evening hours or are open all day. We have put together a brief overview of the wide range of decorative and smoking tobacco here for you. The same applies to the cultivation of ornamental tobacco as to the cultivation of smoking tobacco – with the difference that damage caused by wind and weather reduces the ornamental value, but not the quality of the harvest. When planting, simply proceed as in the overview in the following section – only the row planting in the bed refers exclusively to smoking tobacco. Ornamental tobacco can be grown individually or in groups in the bed, as you wish.

Growing tobacco plant: location, requirements & instructions

Small types of decorative tobacco are ideal for pot culture [Photo: Gabriela Beres /]

Due to its low growth height, ornamental tobacco is also ideal for pot culture. When growing tobacco in the pot, follow these steps:

  • Pot: diameter of about 30 cm
  • Drainage layer made of clay; Lay out gravel on the ground
  • Fill the pot with humus potting soil like our Plantura organic potting soil
  • Put the plant in the pot
  • Water well

It is best to place your decorative tobacco in the pot in a sheltered and sunny place.

Note : With perennial ornamental tobacco varieties, keep in mind that they must be wintered frost-free.

The tobacco beetle is a pest that often causes problems for tobacco plants. In this article you will find out how you can recognize and combat this.

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