An old favourite in a bright new colour

The bell-shaped flowers of a well-known tobacco plant now come in white for the first time

Langsdorff's tobacco, Nicotiana langsdorffii, is one of our favourite annuals, its dainty lime green bells dancing from slender wiry stems. But it only comes in green. Until now.

Nicotiana ‘Starlight Dancer’'Starlight Dancer' is a new hybrid of N. langsdorffii with those same pendulous bell-shaped flowers held on slim and sturdy green stems – but the flowers are white.

In fact, the colouring is a little more subtle than that. Each flower bud is pale lime green then, when the flowers open, their white interiors are brightly revealed. The flowers are all held on one side of the stem, turned towards the light, so the effect is lovely.

When the flowers first open they retain a faint green line through the centre of each lobe but that soon fades leaving a pure white flower with a pale green throat.

In N. langsdorfii the five anthers are bright blue, setting up a sharp contrast. In ‘Starlight Dancer’ they’re more of a chocolate brown and stand out noticeably against the throat of each flower.

This is a lovely plant to intermingle into mixed and herbaceous borders. Its informal style, combined with its strong and wiry stems and its prolific flower production over many summer months, allow it to be used as a unifying feature in sunny borders in any reasonable soil.

Easy to raise as a half-hardy annual, in May it can even be sown direct where it’s to flower. And, I suspect, it will last as well when cut.

You can order Nicotiana ‘Starlight Dancer’ from Chiltern Seeds.


See also

Annuals and biennials

Half-hardy annuals to sow outside

Quick flowers from seed

*Please note, the views expressed in this blog are those of its author, which are not necessarily those of the RHS

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