Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Tips on tobacco growing

Tips on tobacco growing

The important thing to note is that tobacco will be extremely affected by the soil in which it is grown; lighter soils will generally produce lighter coloured tobacco, while darker soils will generally produce darker coloured tobacco. For best results, grow tobacco in a climate that is dry and warm. Tobacco requires a frost-free period of 3-4 months between transplanting and harvest. For best results, tobacco should be ripened without heavy rainfall; excess water causes tobacco plants to become thin and flaky. The ideal temperature for growing tobacco is 68°-86° F (20°-30° C).

Sprinkle tobacco seeds onto the surface of a sterile seed starting mix and lightly water. Be sure you place your starting mix in a small flower pot, preferably with holes in the bottom. These seeds should be grown indoors for 4-6 weeks.

Water the soil frequently to keep it moist but not soggy. The soil should never be allowed to completely dry out and be extra careful when watering because the force of the water can uproot the freshly emerging tobacco seedlings and cause them to die.


Transplant your seedlings into a larger pot after three weeks. Your seedlings should be large enough for transplantation if you watered and stored them correctly. Water your seedlings with plant starter fertiliser solution like miracle grow or seaweed/fish emulsion fertiliser. This should be sufficient food for the plants until they are ready to be transferred to your garden in approximately 3-4 weeks.

Transfer the tobacco plants to your plot or garden when the shoots are 6-8 inches in length. Space the plants at least 2-3 feet apart in a row, and space rows 3 1/2-4 feet from each other.

Water the tobacco thoroughly each evening for a few days as the plants settle. Once they become better established, you can water less frequently to avoid over-watering.

Apply low-chlorine fertiliser which only contains nitrogen in nitrate form.
Top the tobacco plant as soon as it begins to flower. Topping is the removal of the terminal (centre) bud and allows the upper leaves to get larger and thicker than if they were untopped.

Hoe gently around your tobacco plants to keep them free of weeds and spray your plants with tobacco-specific pesticides if you notice pests or rot. –


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