HOW TO GROW TOBACCO PLANTS FROM SEED
GROW YOUR OWN ROLL UPS !!!
Sow seeds indoors in flats, trays or small pots 6‐8 weeks
before transplanting. A plastic tray with 4 or 6 packs inserts
works very well. Fill trays approximately 3 inches deep with a
fine starting mix soil or potting soil. Pack soil very lightly.
Potting soil should be screened to remove any large chunks.
Thoroughly soak soil and let drain before seeding. Do not use
Sprinkle 2‐3 seeds in each pot on top of the moistened soil.
Do NOT cover seed. Mist the seeds lightly with a spray bottle
and cover the tray loosely with a plastic dome or sheet of
clear light plastic film. Do not seal tightly. Leave a corner
propped up to allow some air exchange. Place in a well lit
area near a window or under grow lights where the
temperature is a constant 70‐80 degrees. Do not exceed 85
degrees. Mist the trays daily and keep the soils surface moist
at all times. Seeds will germinate in 7‐14 days. Tobacco seed
germination is very temperature dependent. Lower
Temperatures will greatly delay germination.
When the seeds start sprouting, remove the plastic cover and
move to a fully light area such as a greenhouse, cold frame or
under grow lights. Keep soil moist at all times, but do not over
water. Water when the surface of the soil first begins to
appear dry. Over watering may cause seedlings to dampen
off, and impedes root development. Thin or divide seedlings
to 1 per pot.
TOBACCO Planting instructions:
Set seedlings outside in filtered sunlight for 2‐4 hours per day
for a week before planting to acclimate and harden off the
seedlings. Plant seedlings in rows spaced 2 feet in all directions
after all danger of frost has passed. Keep soil moist until plants
are established. It is normal for plants to wilt after
transplanting and appear not to grow at all during the first 2
weeks. All the growth is taking place under ground at this
stage. Once established, tobacco requires little water. Fertilize
lightly at planting and again in 4‐6 weeks only if needed.
Cut off the flower heads when they appear. Topping forces
the energy into the leaves making them larger and thicker.
Cut off suckers (side branches) when topping. Leaves ripen 2‐
3 weeks after topping and are ready to harvest when they
turn yellow, or become a mottled green and yellow with
Harvesting and curing TOBACCO:
Leaves may be picked as they ripen (primed) and strung on
wire or string with ½ inch of space between them for curing.
Whole plants can be cut and hung when 50% of the leaves
show signs of ripening. Curing (aka color curing) happens
when chlorophyll in the leaf breaks down and the leaf
changes from green or yellow to brown. Hang leaves or plants
in an area where you can maintain a daily average of 70‐80%
humidity to cure and dry. Basements or outdoor sheds often
make great curing locations. If dried to quickly, the leaf will
not cure and will dry green. Tobacco that fails to cure and
dries green is unsmokable.
After curing, continue to dry the leaf until it is completely dry
and the main stem snaps like a twig. Once cured and dried,
the leaf can be left to hang and age where it is, or brought
back into case (re‐humidified until the leaf is pliable) then
packed into cardboard boxes for storage and to age. Aging
allows time for nitrogen compounds in the leaf to break
down, which removes the harshness of freshly cured tobacco
and lets the true flavors come through.