Nicotine – To Control Pests
Q: I read that dried tobacco is good to keep pests away from various other plants. I assumed the articles were referring to regular tobacco but I have discovered that there is a flowering tobacco grown as a decorative and fragrant plant. Would its dried leaves have the same properties as the regular kind?
A: The two plants are indeed kin. Smoking tobacco is Nicotiana tabacum.
There are several garden plants known as flowering tobacco, chiefly Nicotiana alata, Nicotiana mutabilis and Nicotiana sylvestris. All four have fragrant flowers on tall stems and all four contain nicotine.
I don’t know about using dried tobacco leaves for pest control but my grandfather used concentrated nicotine sulfate (Black Leaf 40) to kill garden insects. The product is no longer available because it is so toxic. Be careful when working with nicotine.