Nicotiana alata (also called N. affinis) has been grown as a garden flower by generations of gardeners who have valued its intense evening fragrance. In the old days it was not particularly decorative – the tallneeded staking and the closed during the day, but nowadays there are dwarf varieties and with many modern hybrids the long trumpet-like blooms stay open during the daylight hours. Dead-head spent blooms regularly.
VARIETIES: You can still buy N. alata with its tall, white and evening fragrance. It is a much better plan, however, to buy a more compact variety which opens during the day. There is ‘Crimson Rock’ (2 ft), ‘Dwarf White Bedder’ (1.5 ft) and ‘Red Devil (1.5 ft). Good mixtures include ‘Sensation’ (3 ft), ‘Nicki Mixed’ (1 ft) and ‘Tinkerbelle’ (9 in.). The yellowish ‘Lime Green’ is popular.
SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do -thrives in sun or light shade.
PLANT DETAILS: Height 9 in. -3 ft.
Spacing: 9 in. -1 ft.
Flowering period: June-October.
PROPAGATION: Follow the Half Hardy Annual technique . Plant out when the danger of frost is past.