Tobacco plant is not edible but it is cultivated on a large scale. It contains nicotine. The tobacco plant has a characteristic pyramid form, whereby the largest leaves are found at the base of the plant, their size getting continually smaller as they move higher on the stem. The color of the blossoms varies between white and pink

Tobacco seeds require warm temperatures for germination of about 75-80 degrees.


The seeds of tobacco are extremely small, not much larger than a pin prick and care should be taken when sowing seeds as to not sow to thickly. Seeds should be prepared indoor 4-6 weeks in advance from last frost date. Firstly, the tobacco seed should be sprinkled onto the surface of a sterile seed. And then start mixing them and lightly water in. Do not cover the seed with any soil as they need light for germination and covering can slow down the germination time. If covered too deeply, then the seed won’t germinate at all. Watering in lightly is all what is needed. Finally, the seed will begin to germinate in about 7-14 days depending upon tobacco varieties. The soil should be kept moist and never completely dry. Watering should be done carefully as the force of the water can uproot the tiny seedlings causing them to die. The best way to water seedlings is from the bottom (if using a pot with holes in the bottom) so that leaves won’t get wet.
For further growth, the tobacco seedlings should be transplanted into a larger container such as a pot or transplant cell tray so that they can develop a good root system. Normally, seedlings will be large enough and ready for moving into pots after 3 weeks from beginning of germination. Transplanting into containers is easily accomplished by making a small hole into the soil and inserting the roots of the tobacco seedling and backfilling the hole with a little soil mix,. Once you have them potted in, water in with a plant starter fertilizes solution such as miracle grows or seaweed/fish fertilize emulsions.
The initial fertilizing at the potting stage should be sufficient food for the plants until they reach transplanting stage, which normal takes approximately 3-4 weeks. If plants begin to yellow or look stunted, another dose of fertilizer may be needed but do so sparingly, over fertilization while in pots or trays may burn the plant's roots and may also lead to overgrown spindly plants.
Once the bare root gets planted, the plants will go through a sort of 'transplant shock' where some or most of the largest leaves may go yellow and wilt and the plant may appear as if it is going to die, but it will not, the main stem and bud of the plant will continue to strive and in a week or so and will begin to grow and flourish. By growing your seedlings in containers or celled trays there is no transplant shock and plants begin to grow immediately. If you are growing your tobacco seedlings in a greenhouse or indoors they should be "hardened off" before you transplant into your field or garden, but it is not always necessary as long as your plants are not spindly and weak and weather conditions are favorable. This period allows the plant to adjust to outdoor weather conditions. A week of hardening off should be ample time but 2 weeks is even better.


Tobacco is a heavy feeder and if grown continuously in the same spot will deplete the nutrients in the soil. So to counteract this it is wise to employ a 2 year rotation in your growing space by planting 2 years in a specific location and waiting a year or more before you plant your tobacco back into that location again. Tobacco also requires good amounts of nitrogen and potash both of which can be achieved with a good compost but we recommend a good garden fertilizer if you do not have or use compost.
Space the tobacco plants 2-3 feet apart in the row and space rows 3.5 - 4 feet apart when it is practical. Water the plants thoroughly once transplanted and if no rain or dry weather is forecast, water each evening for a few days till plants become established.
The roots of tobacco grow quickly and the root structure is quite large with thousands of small hair like feeder roots that grow close to the soil surface. Care should be taken when cultivating as not to till or hoe too deep and damage the roots. Keep the tobacco clean and free of all weeds and a few good hoeing by pulling up soil around the base of the plant will help in strengthening the plant. The structure of a tobacco plant's leaves enables the plant to make use of light rains and heavy dews by collecting and funneling the water down to the base of the plant as can be seen in by the wet soil.
After 3-4 weeks from planting, heavy deep tilling should be stopped and only light scrapings to control weeds should be done.


There are many insects and diseases that can attack tobacco. Some of the prominent insect pests are the hornworm and aphid.


Tobacco can be harvested in several ways. In old times, the entire plant used to be harvested by cutting off the stalk at the ground with a sickle. In modern times, large fields are harvested by a single piece of farm equipment, though topping the flower and in some cases the plucking of immature leaves is still done by hand.


The bundled leaves are brought into the drying sheds to dry. These are aligned in an east/ west direction so that the sun warms one end of the shed in the morning and the other in the afternoon. During the drying process which takes about 50 days, they are gradually hung higher and higher in the shed. The leaves first turn yellow and then through the oxidation process, take on their famed golden brown color.

The First Fermentation

The tobacco leaves are packed together into bundles and then moved into the fermentation house. Here they are stacked in piles, reaching over three feet high. If the temperature of the tobacco rises above 35°C, the piles are dismantled and allowed to cool until they can again be heaped up. The first fermentation lasts about 30 days, within which the leaves take on an even color, resins are reduced, and ammonia and other unwanted components are dissipated.

De-ribbing and Sorting

The tobacco leaves are moistened with water in order to avoid discoloration. Subsequently the main ribs are removed. The leaves are then sorted, depending upon intended purpose, color, size and quality. The complete de-ribbing and final sorting in up to 50 different categories takes place much later in the factory.

The second Fermentation

The leaves are again bundled together and stacked into meter-high piles. The tobacco goes through a chemical change which positively influences its taste and flavor, and allows any remaining foreign components to diminish. The second fermentation is stronger than the first and lasts up to 60 days. The wrappers undergo the shortest fermentation.


After resting for some days on ventilation racks, the tobacco is pressed into bundles called "Tercios", which are wrapped in palm bark or banana leaves. These bundles are delivered to local collection points, which are under the control of the state until they are needed by the registered factories. The taste and flavor of the tobacco continues to improve during this storage period.