Tobacco is normally connected to Mars, probably because
it is warming, but it seems better suited to the Element of Fire,
since it sharpens thinking and is not Martian in its physical
aspect. Many people, however, consider tobacco an acceptable substitute for
many (other) baneful herbs that are normally considered Saturnian. I
haven't been able to get this seed for quite a while, but now at
last I once again have access to a North American variety of this
plant. This variety has pinkish flowers instead of yellow ones.
Next year I hope I will have a number of other varieties of this
important magical plant available.
This plant has a long history of use in the Americas.
It is cultivated in the Amazon, is the only tobacco species grown
by the Indians in the northeast of what is now the US, and is
also the sort of tobacco presently raised in Turkey and India.
It is not the same tobacco our cigarettes are made of. N. rustica
has approximately twice as much alkaloid content than N. tabaccum,
which is what is normally grown in the US for cigarettes and cigars,
so this stuff is strong. Most people combine it with other plants
when smoking in order to reduce the harshness. When you smoke
this herb, you realize just how psychoactive nicotine can be.
Some people combine this herb with Tagetes
lucida (Yauhtli). This plant is also known as picietl, Aztec tobacco, and
How to grow Nicotiana rustica. If you can grow tomatoes or peppers, you can grow tobacco.
Seeds are very small and so need light to germinate, meaning just sprinkle them
on wet planting medium and lightly press them in.
Put in indirect light with bottom heat (like a heating pad set on medium) to
germinate in 10-20 days at 70-75F/20-25C. Keep moist by using a fine mister
or watering from the bottom (put the pots in water for 1/2 hour and remove);
otherwise, the seeds will be swamped. Once they are up, lower temps to 65F/18C.
Transplant when they get their first set of true leaves (second set of leaves),
gradually hardening off to plant in full sun when outside temperatures are warm.
I have found this plant easy to grow. Normally tobacco is grown
in rich soil--it greatly depletes soil nutrients. Native Americans
grew this plant in isolated pockets in the woods, but in Turkey,
plants are deliberately grown on poor soil and planted thickly
in order to end up with smaller leaves with concentrated alkaloids;
they are then cured in the sun for 2-3 weeks. Whether you grow
it in rich soil or poor, the soil must be well drained; they don't
like to sit in water. This annual grows 2-3 feet high and produces
suckers (baby plants); cutting off suckers means bigger leaves.
Leaving suckers on usually means a greater concentration of alkaloids.
If you want seeds, let the flowers form. But if you want bigger
leaves, cut the flowers off before the flowers open. Hot, dry
climates also concentrate alkaloids, and the higher on the plant
the leaf is (and the smaller the leaf), the more alkaloids it
will contain. General
growing info Top
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© 2004, 2013 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission