Looking for a very fragrant flowering plant that smells like honeyed vanilla? Nicotiana is definitely a favorite, the scent can waft over several yards but does not become cloying. It is considered a tender perennial that is winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-11. Everywhere else it is grown as an annual in consistently moist, organically rich, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade.
Seed is best sown indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date, but may be sown directly in the garden after last frost. Be sure not to cover the seeds as they need light to germinate. They do prefer to be sited in full sun to partial shade.
Set out nicotiana seedlings or purchased plants after last frost date, in a fertile, moist, well drained area. Plan on deadheading flower stalks of spent clusters to promote additional bloom. Be aware that nicotiana may self-seed in excellent growing conditions.
Nicotiana (also known as flowering tobacco) is a vigorous, rosette-forming plant that typically grows 3-5’ tall and features clusters of long-tubed, trumpet-shaped flowers that resemble shooting stars. You can find white, red, maroon, pink, green flowers, although the white flowers seem to have the most scent. Nicotiana blooms summer to fall, providing good color and fragrance for late summer borders, and the flowers are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.
You can also find seedlings at http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com.