Posts Tagged ‘nicotiana’

Disease resistant nicotianas

January 25th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Disease-resistant Nicotiana 'Babybella'Disease wiped out the trials of tobacco plant, Nicotiana, at the RHS Garden at Wisley in Surrey in 1997. Tobacco blue mould also ruined the trial in 1998 and again when they tried in 2001and most varieties vanished from catalogues and gardens for almost fifteen years. There was no point growing them as, unless you were isolated from sources of infection, they were simply wiped out in most gardens.

But a plant breeding company in Norfolk has worked diligently to develop attractive varieties that are also tolerant of disease and Mr F now lists the best two of their introductions. With blood from a number of mould-resistant wild species added to the floral impact of traditional types, they developed ‘Whisper’, introduced a few years ago, and now we have another: ‘Babybella’.

Reaching about 90cm in height, the slightly bell-shaped flowers reveal the influence of the old lime-green favourite Nicotiana langsdorfii. But ‘Babybella’ not only comes with flowers in rich crimson but they’re carried on very well branched stems to create a plant that’s ideal in mixed borders with perennials and shrubs and also in large containers.

‘Babybella’ also makes a fine cut flower, the slender but wiry stems supporting the mass of flowers very effectively and the elegant way in which the flowers are held on the stems ensures that the cut stems fit well into large mixed arrangements.

‘Whisper’ is available to grow from seed sown from February to May, ‘Babybella’ is available as young plants to order now for planting in May.