Name: Nicotiana mutabilis
Type of Plant: This is a tall flowering tobacco from Brazil. It’s an annual in all but very warm climates, but in places where it’s perennial it flowers non-stop and grows 6 to 8 feet high. In places where it’s an annual, such as the Northeastern USA, the plants get to be about 5 feet tall when grown from seed in one season.
Why I love this: I love this annual because it’s very airy, with several tones of pink flowers. The blooms start out a very pale pink and then transform into mid and dark pink. I like that it attracts hummingbirds, and that it is pretty frost tolerant. I like that the deer don’t eat it, and that it self seeds where it’s happy.
A Word to the Wise: Grow Nicotiana mutabilis in full sun and fairly rich soil. Once you have it you should always have it but only if you don’t mulch your beds early in the season – if you do you’ll cover the seeds and they won’t germinate. You’ll also need to edit the seedlings out a bit – if you leave all of them to grow they will stunt each other. So toughen up and pull some of them out so your plants will be spaced about 6 to 8” apart. Note that this plant doesn’t germinate until the ground gets pretty warm, so in places like Cape Cod where spring is cool, don’t look for the seedlings, or plant out those grown in a greenhouse, until early to mid-June.