Our Flowering Tobacco 'Jasmine' (Nicotiana alata) - 2019


For Mother's Day this year, Nat's Mom gave her a small Flowering Tobacco Jasmine plant that came in a little plastic capsule.  There was very little instructions with it other than that it was potentially poisonous (see ASPCA page on it being poisonous to dogs here!).  Nat's Mom has given us a few Disneyland Roses (first one in 2017 and two more in 2018) and a couple of hydrangeas, but this is the first annual that she's gifted us.

I wasn't sure where to put it, so I ended up sticking it on the side of our house on the southside - near where I put the 2018 Disneyland roses and was planning to do a Belgian Fence.  I didn't pay it much attention and didn't even water it consciously.  And look at it above:  beautifully tall and graceful. 

But, this isn't just a looker.  Nope.  It does a couple of things that are interesting.  First...it transforms from day to evening.  The listing on Select Seeds calls it a "night bloomer".  Then it has a distinct smell. And...finally...it can potentially come back with 'self sowing'.  From Select Seeds:
White star-shaped tubular flowers open in the early evening filling the atmosphere with a warm sweetness. Unwind after a busy day with this night bloomer. An 1889 seed catalog recommends their use in the center of a bed of evening flowers, strategically sited under the parlor window; another advises cutting them for bouquets. Self sows.
Here's a look at some of those flowers - in the early evening.  Sure enough, it opened up and threw off a really nice Jasmine smell in the evening.  

The fact that this is an annual was/is a surprise to me?  I don't know why, but I don't think of annuals putting on a show like this - more that they'll be closer to the ground and compact to start.   Also, I suppose the fact that Nat's Mom has *only* given us perennials in the past probably biased me towards just assuming this was a perennial.  


The whole 1889 thing?  That's kinda incredible, right?  That someone has been collecting and sharing seeds for this for 130 years? 

I only planted one and it has started to fall over, but now I'm going to have to think about staking this thing to keep it upright - with it being "self-sowing" and all.  I'm guessing it is a stretch to get them to self-sow, but why not give them the best chance and then roll the dice.

I like the look of Nicotiana and like that these are Jasmine-scented.  I'm wondering if we should try to find more next year and plant them outside our front porch - or back screened porch to provide some nice scents - but there's that whole dog poison thing.  Cocoa Bean Mulch + Nicotiana.  Double punch.  Maybe the front yard is the right thing to do after all.

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