For a weed, Nicotiana glauca can be difficult to grow. The last time I had a large flowering plant was 2 or 3 years ago. The plant had grown to nearly 15 feet and it flowered almost constantly. 3 flowers yielded about 45 ÁL [microliters] of 28.2% nectar.
I have grown it from seed, but usually suffer many failures before getting one going. A couple of friends can grow them like crops and these friends are generous with seedlings. Still, I've been without a good one for years. Over the winter, one of the friends gave me 2 large pots with large seedlings. His advice was not to try transplanting them. Instead, he suggested cutting the pot from around the roots and planting the entire thing. So, now, I have 3 nice Tree Tobacco plants in a large container and all are flowering modestly. The other pot is awaiting movement to a larger container.
Over the weekend, I dropped by to visit with the friends and I was offered a couple of pots with some 3-inch seedlings. Small, I know, but another friend will take them.
Lately, I have been scurrying around doing a lot of garden work before the summer gets too hot. Much to my surprise, I found a large volunteer Tree Tobacco seedling that had taken hold near the foundation of the house, behind a bed that has Stachytarpheta mutabilis, Stachytarpheta frantzii, and Justicia brandegeana. It will eventually need staking, but I never thought a plant that has been so difficult for me would take off by itself! Woohoo!!!!!
That is great. It is such a beautiful plant. I tried it up here once and it survived for 2 years but didn't thrive, never growing tall and didn't put out flowers until October. Maybe volunteers if you get them are the way to go since some plants don't seem to like disturbance of any kind. And this same plant that is considered an invasive pest in California.
It surprises me that this plant has been such a challenge for you in your more ideal climate. I grew several from seed and purchased a few and the one we had last season overwintered in our sunroom and is now back out on our deck. We've had it flower in spring all the way through to frost, but no flowers yet this season. We've also seen hummer use and hummers love to perch in this plant as well.
Nancy, congratulations on finally getting yours going and even getting it to reseed. It certainly puts out a lot of seed.
Kathi and Michael Rock
Our climate may be warmer, but it is hardly ideal for an arid country plant such as Tree Tobacco or most Penstemons and Agastaches. Along with our heat comes oppressive humidity, even during periods of drought. In the last couple of years, we have experienced drought that doesn't register because when we get rain, it is usually too much rain. So rather being evenly distributed, we have intense dry periods [that are nevertheless humid] interspersed by isolated days that produce 3-4 inches of rain.
Just yesterday, I noted an Anisacanthus quadrifidus var wrightii out front that was suffering heat/drought stress. It is in a large plastic container, but it is in an area that doesn't get watered much. Fortunately, we received about an inch of rain in late afternoon. It had been nearly a month since we had gotten measurable precipitation.
I had to look up Nicotiana glauca to see what tree tobacco looks like, Nancy. After seeing the pictures, I'm really wowed! I've given up trying to grow desert plants here in southeast MS, as I've never been successful.
And I know what you mean about the weather. I get WWL/New Orleans and WLOX/Biloxi television stations on my satellite TV, and I noticed all winter long, when we'd have rain here from a front or whatever, there would be little or no rain just south of here in N.O. and on the Coast. Biloxi also got the occasional deluge, including a whopping 10" after a long dry spell. We are fortunate enough to have had regular but more modest amounts of rainfall. Now, we're going through a dry spell just like you - here's hoping the heat will bring on the afternoon thunderstorms soon!
Even though I know I'm bound to fail, hope springs eternal, so I may just have to try and grow tree tobacco next year!
We have had increasingly dry seasons here in Madison and once again are facing almost drought conditions---it hasn't rained in weeks and temperatures have been above normal (not to speak of an incredibly warm and dry March.) Once again we are facing another dry summer. I guess this brings good and bad and it's interesting to hear that Tree Tobacco likes a dry environment so much. For us, it works best in a container and we always tell people in our programs that containers are so valuable when you're growing something that isn't supposed to grow in your habitat and provides more control over soil (we have heavy clay or loam in southern Wisconsin), rainfall, and sunlight (we don't have enough here in Madison to grow many tropical or southwestern plants.)
Thanks for bringing this up and we hope your Tree Tobacco continues to do well.
Kathi and Michael Rock
I have had some success growing desert plants by putting them in porous containers with poor soil. The large container is set upon a cinder block to keep the bottom of the container above any water that accrues with a bad rain event.
Here, Tree Tobacco grows very lanky so there is a need to stake it. Mine is on the south end of the house and I have hardware attached to use the house as a support. If you would like to try it, I just collected some seed. Privately, send your postal address and I will be happy to mail some.
Last year, I saw a magnificent specimen on Del Puerto Canyon Road in California, completely in the wild. It was fiercely guarded by a male Costa's! What fun!!!
What a beautiful little tree! Love those blooms on it!!!
Well, while I was looking at this website, I noticed to the right a list of Arizona plants by bloom color. And of course I click on "red" blooming plant link. Wow! There are some very interesting and beautiful plants listed there!
I have the same issue as many of you that like to grow such plants ... too humid here, but still worth trying to grow them. I also grow a lot of my plants in clay pots and these kind of drought tolerant and arid plants probably do much better growing in such a pot with quick evaporation.
I might have seeds if anyone wants some. I've noticed that if you keep the tree pruned the leaves get bigger and flower more. If left to grow, it gets tall,lanky, fewer flowers.
Do they not do as well in the hot, humid regions of the USA? Or do these plants tend to be bushes or smaller trees, never gaining genuine tree size? I don't even know what tree size we are talking about! Small tree (under 7 ft.)?
"Growing Environment: Needs only average water and little care when established. Plants can become weedy in some areas if seed pods are allowed to ripen. Grow in full sun or part shade."
Between what this site says about getting "weedy" from the seed pods and Russ's issue with the roots, I'd be a little concerned to try such a plant in my zone/climate. Here with mild winters, it would probably be like the Brazilian Pepper Trees. They just get bigger every year with hundreds of seedlings sprouting all over the place. The Tree Tobacco sounds like a good plant for the very farthest corner of the backyard! Away from the foundation of the house and if it becomes a crop of trees, at least it's not next to the house or garden beds. Though that's not to say that the seeds couldn't find their way to those areas. It does seem to be a lot more attractive and useful than the darn Brazilian Pepper Trees that line up behind my fence line! Though unfortunately, the Tree Tobacco isn't a very strong or sturdy tree. I suspect that hurricane winds would knock it right down?
This message has been edited by beckygardener on Jun 15, 2012 11:11 PM
I've resurrected this thread because the surprise continues. I had assumed that the seedling mentioned in the initial post probably perished in the house painting of last July or the torrential rains of Hurricane Isaac last August. However, while pruning the Coral Vervain Stachytarpheta mutabilis and Purple Vervain Stachytarpheta frantzii on the east side of the house, I rediscovered the volunteer Tree Tobacco Nicotiana glauca seedling growing happily behind all the overgrown shrubs. The weeds surrounding it are now gone and the shrubs are cut low to the ground. Hopefully, it will grow large enough to stick up above the other plants so the fall hummers can enjoy it.
I sowed a few seeds from the cache that Nancy sent to me. In a few days some had germinated...but then 'something' tipped over the container, so I may have some sprout up where I don't expect them to be.
So, two days ago, I sowed a few more and already I can see that two have germinated. Will follow the advice of transplanting the whole pot when the time is right...
Our daughter has purchased 2 varieties of Nicotiana seeds for me, so far