The Nicotianas

NicotianaWe’ve added more cultivars to our nicotiana line—this is another one of those old school plants with new school breeding. Recently it has fallen out of favor, but that should not be; the new nicotianas have stayed true to their heritage while adding higher bloom counts and a more interesting color range than older varieties.

Several standout cultivars have begun to appear in the last few years that explore what a nicotiana can actually do. We like it when breeders expand our design choices—we expect nicotianas to see more action in the marketplace as well.


NIC Saratoga Lime
‘Saratoga Lime’

Colors now range from reds through roses and white. Some bi-colors are available as well as an interesting new color, ‘Saratoga Lime’, that brings to mind a lime Popsicle®. ‘Lime’ complements many shades and makes the dramatic flowers pop even more. A strong supporting character, it lifts light green up into the air in a very subtle way—a nice foil for purples and reds and oranges.

NIC Whisper Rose Shades
‘Whisper Rose Shades’

We’ve just started to see new heights coming out, most notably ‘Whisper Rose Shades’, which grows to three feet—a foot more than a standard nicotiana. It grows so tall, with so many flowers, that the blooms have a more pronounced draping than the other cultivars.


NIC Apple Blossom
‘Apple Blossom’

Fragrance is a big seller because you don’t have to get your nose down into the flowers to smell it; a breeze can pick up the sweet, pleasant scent. Fortunately, this feature has not been bred out and is present in all the cultivars.

NIC Saratoga Red

Low maintenance is another strong suit. Nicotiana does not require a lot of fertilization and it grows through the season better with benign neglect. It prefers to grow in full sun but will also thrive in partial shade, though not in full shade.

NIC Saratoga Rose

These plants play well with others. They are traditionally very open and airy, so they allow other plants to mix with them. Even with their higher bloom counts, the new cultivars still remain clear and light. It’s fun to play with the designs by adding nicotianas as punctuation marks in a bed. Rather than plant them in a row, intersperse some among shorter plants like petunias, scaevolas and mecardonias.

NIC Saratoga White

Deer resistance is always an important feature. Keep in mind that a plant’s ability to resist deer is strongly influenced by how tough the season has been for the deer; the hungrier the deer, the more distasteful stuff they will eat.

NIC Saratoga Purple Bicolor
‘Purple Bi-Color’


The Saratoga Solids

A little larger, they grow in the 2 to 2-1/2 foot range. They are very heavy bloomers and have a great fragrance. Colors range from red to rose to white.

The Sarasota Bi-Colors

These two varieties would look great planted together:

  • ‘Apple Blossom’ is a pink and white bi-color.
  • ‘Purple Bi-Color’ is purple and white.

Tall & Unique

‘Whisper Rose Shades’ is much taller than the others—about three to four feet tall. It’s unique in that the flowers look more like tuberoses. A striking plant from a distance, it also looks good up close. This cultivar is pretty new to the market.

As we mentioned above, another standout variety for us is ‘Saratoga Lime’, featuring a white blossom with streaks of light green running toward the eye. It’s an interesting play on variegation and the color mix is very effective.


We support the nicotianas in two sizes:

  • 1203 market baskets (5 colors)
  • 1801 landscape trays (6 colors)