Tobacco is the common name of several plants that belong to the Nicotiana genus and fall under the Solanaceae family (aka Belladonna) and the general term for any product prepared from the dried leaves of the tobacco plant. More than 70 species of tobacco are known, but the main commercial crop is Nicotian tabacum. The more potent Nicotian rustic variant is also used around the world. Dried tobacco leaves are consumed by smokers, minced in cigars, cigarettes, or as pipe products and in hookahs. Tobacco leaves can also be simply chewed or smelled demented.
The most common tobaccos grown in Italy are the famous Virginia, very popular in Veneto and Umbria, Badischer, Paraguay and also Burley, mostly grown in southern regions such as Campania. grown mostly in Campania, Kentucky, Tuscany, Herzegovina and Xanthi Yakà, in Puglia, Perustitza, in Abruzzo, Havanna and Maryland, in Lazio. It is possible to grow outside in Italy, but only during the spring and warmer months. For tobacco, an annual rainfall of 50-100 cm and a temperature of 15-20 ° C during the growing period is ideal. However, if you decide to grow indoors, you won’t struggle to keep the temperature constant and you won’t have to worry about rain.
Is it legal to grow tobacco?
Currently YES, even at home. The production of tobacco in Italy no longer falls under the State Monopoly after the approval of the Decree Law of November 30, 1970, N ° 870, so it is no longer necessary to communicate its cultivation to the authorities.
How to grow tobacco indoors
If you love the nutty aroma of fresh tobacco, growing some tobacco plants is a great way to enjoy them at home. While it can be difficult to grow tobacco indoors, part of the fun of gardening and caring for plants is facing a big challenge. However, we suggest that you never smoke or chew the tobacco you grow at home, as it is impossible to determine the nicotine content and chemical composition. Nonetheless, growing tobacco indoors is a fun way to push your plant growing skills to the next level. The tobacco plant also requires a lot of pruning, which is fun if you find pruning the plants therapeutic!
Germination of seeds
1 Place small, shallow germination trays inside a larger container.
Take a few small grow containers and line them up inside a large basin or shallow container. The size of each container does not necessarily matter, as you will repot the seedlings once they have grown. Those germination trays are perfect for this, but you can also use seed pots or tubs of ice cream with holes in the bottom. You may find our Germination Kits useful.
- Tobacco seeds require a lot of water and the large container will prevent moisture from escaping.
2 Fill your containers with seed growing mix or pre-fertilized potting soil.
Get some soil suitable for germination. Fill each of your small containers with soil. Do not compact the soil after filling the containers but leave it vaporous to allow the small shoots to emerge effortlessly.
- You can also use a combination of fine earth and sand if you don’t want to buy a seed growing mix.
- Tobacco tends to be quite tough and will grow in a variety of different soil compositions. Temperature and lighting are much more important when it comes to making sure plants bloom.
3 Spread a thin layer of nitrogen-rich fertilizer on the soil.
Take a liquid fertilizer that is high in nitrogen and rich in potassium. Spread a thin layer of fertilizer over the soil and wait a week or so to give the soil time to absorb the nutrients from the fertilizer.
- If you’re using a nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium-rich starting soil, you can probably avoid adding fertilizer. Most outdoor-grown tobacco doesn’t need it, so if your soil is healthy and full of nutrients, it will probably be fine.
4 Buy your seeds from a high quality source.
Tobacco seeds are extremely small, so you don’t need a large package to grow a few plants indoors. There are many varieties of tobacco, but the most popular are Virginia, Burley and Oriental Tobacco. They have different growth times, but the same process is used to grow each species. Buy your seeds from a reliable source.
- You may need to purchase your tobacco seeds online, depending on where you live. Some countries, states, and regions don’t allow the sale of tobacco seeds, but you can buy them online if it’s legal to grow tobacco where you live.
5 Sprinkle the tobacco seeds on the ground and leave them uncovered.
Pour a pinch of seeds onto a sheet of paper. Carefully and slowly slide a small amount of seeds across the soil to spread the seeds over your containers. Tobacco seeds are incredibly small, and a tiny pinch can produce up to 100 plants, so don’t overdo the seed spread.
- Tobacco seeds are delicate and their microscopic size makes them difficult to plant individually. Spreading the seeds on the ground is the only realistic way to do this.
6 Water the soil until the larger container fills with some water.
Fill a watering can and slowly water the soil. Refill and continue watering the soil until the large container fills with approximately one to two inches of water. Don’t compact the soil and don’t worry about covering the seeds with potting soil.
- Tobacco seeds are extremely thirsty and need a lot of water to germinate.
7 Cover the container and keep the area around the seeds at 24-27 ° C.
Get some newspaper or a clear plastic lid. Spread the newspapers over the large container or use the plastic lid to cover your seeds. This will keep some of the moisture inside the grow containers. Place the grow container in an area of your home that always stays between 24-27 ° C. If the weather is particularly cold, you can use heating mats.
- The area around the ground cannot drop below 21 ° C. If you want, you can place a heater or grow light to keep the area warm. Seeds don’t need light, but it won’t hurt either.
8 Keep the soil moist and wait 3-14 days for the seedlings to germinate.
As long as the water at the bottom of the larger container evaporates, you probably won’t need to water the soil while you wait for the seeds to germinate. However, check the soil every day to make sure it is still wet. If it dries out completely, water the soil a little to keep it moist. Your seedlings will sprout in about 3-14 days.
- If your seeds don’t germinate after 2 weeks or so, you probably haven’t kept the plants warm enough. Empty the containers and try again
Take care of your tobacco
1 Eliminate seedlings that don’t look healthy and straight.
A pinch of seeds can produce hundreds of tobacco plants, so keep only those seedlings that look healthy and upright. Tobacco grows very tall, so if you keep those lopsided plants, sooner or later they will fall off and die. You’ll likely see dozens of stems come out of the seed tray, so pick 2-10 plants you want to keep.
- These cute little plants will eventually grow into huge plants. Unless you’ve set up a commercial greenhouse, there’s no way to realistically take care of all those seedlings.
2 Repot each seedling in a pot that holds between 6.5 and 7.6 liters of soil
Get separate pots for each individual plant you want to grow, fill the new containers with well-draining potting soil and indent the center of the container with your finger. Gently harvest the seedling without damaging the roots and place the plants you have decided to grow in their new containers.
- If any of the tobacco seedlings begin to lean or lean at an angle after transplanting, you can support them with a wooden skewer or popsicle stick.
3 Put your plants under a light and leave it on for 16 hours a day.
You can buy a LED or CFL lamp. Place it so that the light is suspended about 60cm above the seedlings and turn it on. Leave this light on for 16 hours a day as your seedlings mature.
- CFL lights are much cheaper than LED grow lights, but LED lights will last much longer. However, it’s all a matter of personal preference. Tobacco plants just want the light, they don’t necessarily care where it comes from!
- If you have a nice east or south-east facing window, or an extremely sunny area, you may be able to grow tobacco there. Seedlings need a lot of light to reach maturity, so it’s best to use a grow light if you want to make sure your plants thrive.