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Saving Nicotiana Seeds

I can’t say enough positive things about growing Nicotiana plants in the garden. They’re tough plants than can take some heat and drought, several species and hybrid cultivars have some beautiful flowers, and the sweet-scented blooms attract moths and other pollinators. Saving and collecting Nicotiana seeds is really easy.

White Nicotiana flower

There is enough variety in floral shape, color, and plant height in the genus to keep most gardeners interested. I believe this plant is ‘Only the Lonely’ and it is one of my favorites for its dramatic height and trumpet-shaped flowers that glow in the moonlight.

Nicotiana seed pods

After the flowers have been pollinated they will turn brown and shrivel leaving the seed pod remaining on the stem. As you can see from the photo, the ripened seed pods are brown and open at the end when the seeds are ready to be broadcasted.

Nicotiana seeds and seed pods

At this point you can just tap a Nicotiana seed pod and the seeds will easily spill into the palm of your hand, seed envelope or a piece of paper. A single plant can yield a few thousand of the small, brown seeds. To save and store the seeds, spread them out on a piece of paper in a cool dry location for a couple of days to allow them to dry before storing them in seed envelopes for the following year.

Collecting Nicotiana Flower Seeds 

Here's a garden video showing you how to collect seeds from ornamental tobacco flowers. I love plants like Nicotiana because they give you so much bang for your seed saving buck. You'll be able to grow hundreds of these annuals in your garden after saving seeds from just one plant. Although, I should point out that if you're saving seeds from a Nicotiana hybrid cultivar there's no telling what your seedlings will look like.


  1. Wow, so many seeds in the one pod and so tiny too. Really pretty flowers also! Can ornamental Nicotiana leaves be dried for smoking like normal tobacco plants as well?

    1. You know, I don't know the answer to that. Although, my guess would be no, because the hybrids are bred for aesthetic reasons. And when you breed for looks, you lose other qualities that would make it consumable.

      But don't quote me on that. :0)

    2. Thanks! I just read that someone "tried drying and smoking the leaves of N. sylvestris but it just tasted horrible". They further said that "N. rustica is also a rich source of nicotine and used to be grown in kitchen gardens as a source of nicotine sulphate for use as a powerful insecticide. This, incidentally, is why old gardeners always swore by smoking a pipe in greenhouses. It may not have done much for their health but it certainly kept harmful insects at bay." ( Lol. Btw, I do not endorse smoking at all, just curious about the plant. Thanks again. :)

    3. LOL, looks like we both got curious and went to go look for the same answer. It's about what I expected. Thanks for reminding me about N. rustica because I saw it in a garden a couple of years ago and wanted to grow it. The blooms are fantastic on that plant. No worries, I like plants that are not healthy for us too. I used to want to grow a garden of deadly plants back like 6 years ago.

    4. It's frightening how many beautiful plants there are that can be dangerous to humans and animals. I'm thinking of Brugmansia, Oleander, Euphorbia etc. But sometimes, it's difficult to keep such dangerous plants, especially if one has children or pets. And we all need to be well informed of such plants. How deadly were you thinking? :)

    5. Lithopsland,

      Oh, you know, just the common stuff (including what you listed) that can be grown by many. Or plants that have been used to make potentially deadly stuff. Like castor beans. People love growing castor beans, and not many know that they're where Ricin comes from. :0) But yeah, I put those plans on hold when my siblings had kids.

    6. Cool, must be the investigative/experimental scientist in you, lol. The plant kingdom is truly incredible!! ;)

  2. Such tiny seeds. Worth collecting. You put together the best how to posts.

    1. Thanks! I try my best and appreciate it when people notice.

    2. So you just plant one seed to get a plant? If you leave the seeds drop to the ground will they spread and come back next Spring? I just love this flower. Looks so much like stephanotis.



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