Instructions: Growing tobacco plants from seed

  • Prepare a fine growing substrate that is rich in nutrients
  • Tobacco seeds are very small and a fine substrate is preferred.  Our goal is a well drained, light and airy mix for ultimate root formation
  • The most widely used ingredients to create a germination substrate, suitable for most exotic plant seeds, are:
    • fine potting soil with compost or added fertiliser
    • chopped long fiber sphagnum moss (not live sphagnum moss as it may overgrow the seedlings depriving them from light),
    • horticultural perlite (with or without additives), and
    • washed silica sand or any other course sand for drainage
  • Mix the ingredients in equal parts and moisten it thoroughly
  • Long fiber sphagnum moss (we use shredded LFS in some of our seed starter packs) can be soaked in clean water overnight, to expand to its full capacity
  • Add more water to the substrate mix and place it in a microwave safe container.  Microwave on full power for a couple of minutes to kill any spores in the growing media and let it cool down completely
  • Choose a plastic container and punch some holes into the top and bottom for drainage and ventilation, or sterilise and use a plant pot with drainage holes
  • Terracotta pots may be used but take caution as it may dry out quickly 
  • Add the substrate to the container and level it to just below the rim
  • Next, open the seed envelope carefully - tobacco seeds are tiny!
  • Sprinkle or spread the seeds onto the surface of the moist substrate without burying them, they will need light to germinate
  • Use a spray bottle (distilled or reverse osmosis water preferred) and mist the surface lightly to ensure the seeds make good contact with the moist media
  • Place the container in a shallow tray with a little water.  Maintain a fluctuating water level up to 1 cm by letting the tray dry slightly in-between waterings
  • Cover the container with glass or a plastic ziplock bag with holes for ventilation to create a humid growing environment
  • Place the growing chamber in a warm place with as much STRONG, indirect light as possible
  • Tobacco seeds are best sown during springtime but an early start can be faciliated indoors.  For good germination, seeds will need a soil temperature of between 20-30°C and can be started indoors or outdoors (out of direct sun)
  • A heating pad can be used to keep seeds warm during winter and a day-night temperature difference of 10°C may also improve germinate rate
  • If grown on a sunny windowsill indoors, consider using a desk lamp (a daylight compact fluorescent bulb works great) to supplement light - a light cycle of 12 to 14 hours is recommended
  • When germinating seeds outdoors, a couple hours of early morning sun will suffice but take caution, as direct sun will cause heat to build up under the glass or inside the ziplock bag and can cook the seeds.  Also protect the growing chamber from rain as it may wash away all your progress 
  • Remember to label your seeds and record the sowing date
  • Remove the glass or open the ziplock bag every couple of days for a few minutes to provide ventilation and water the soil surface if necessary, ensuring the growing media never dries out (never soggy though - you do not want floating seeds)
  • Growing plants from seed can be very rewarding but may (and will probably) in many cases, test your patience to the extreme.  BE PATIENT and observe for growth through the glass or ziplock bag
  • Most tobacco seed strains germinate within 10 - 20 days, depending on your growing conditions  
  • The main germination factors are fresh seeds, warmth, humidity, VERY bright light and lots of patience
  • Try not to disturb the seedlings. Change water when discolouration occurs, and improve airflow if you notice algae developing on the soil surface 
  • Once your seeds have germinated, acclimatise the seedlings to the outside world by opening the glass for longer periods each day (or snipping off corners from the ziplock bag) removing it completely over a period of a week
  • Once the seedlings are around 5 cm, repot your seedlings into individual pots or a seed tray and fertilise with a good quality fertiliser, high in Nitrogen
  • Tobacco seedlings are heavy feeders and your plants may be fertilised twice a month for the remainder of the growing season.  We recommend another repotting session into either bigger pots or into the garden when they are around 20cm - if started indoors, do so after the last frost of the winter season - tobacco plants are frost tender
  • Be gentle and take the necessary time when repotting, keeping in mind that seedlings may have very fragile roots - see why we shredded the long fiber sphagnum moss? :))
  • Depending on the strain, some plants can reach sizes of over 1 meter if fed regularly.  Nip flowers are they emerge for bigger leaves and bushier growth
  • As with any plant seed, we can - due to a range of factors - of course never absolutely guarantee germination, however, we can provide you with this clear, concise sowing guideline, assert that the seeds we sell are carefully labeled, guarantee that they are authentic as legit tobacco strains from trusted suppliers, as well as one of the most important factors with regards to success - fresh seed!
Wishing you the best of luck
Happy Growing!!

** Seeds are sold exclusively online via our website ** 

Live sphagnum moss cultures for sale @ Cultivo Carnivores South Africa
Reference Guides | Sowing carnivorous plant seed | Grow your own starter pack from Cultivo Carnivores South Africa