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A unique new colour in nicotianas

From an overlooked seed company gene bank, a bronze flowered tobacco plant emerges

Nicotiana 'Bronze Queen'In recent years the flower seed companies have been developing an increasing range of nicotiana varieties in unusual flower colours to add to the existing whites, pinks and reds and purples.

There’s always been a taste for colours that are out of the ordinary. For many years ‘Lime Green’ has been one of the most popular colours, and now comes another unusual shade – a colour never seen before – bronze.

‘Bronze Queen’ is relatively tall, 2-3ft (60-90cm) in height, making it ideal for sunny borders. The flowers are coppery coloured on their backs and a more bronzy tone, sometimes with purplish hints, on the front. You could even describe them as the colour of mild chocolate.

I asked Alan Sparks, in charge of Home Gardening at Takii Europe, the breeders who developed this unusual colour, how it came about.

“I found it in one of the old gene bank boxes,” he told me. “It must have been something Kees Sahin was working on just before he died and I was just going through the boxes to find anything that might be interesting.

“I liked the colour – customers always joke with me that I always choose brown flowers in the selection fields, and we also have a bronze eschscholzia in development. We spent two or three years tidying up the this bronze-flowered nicotiana selection before introducing it.”

Kees Sahin was a legendary figure in the development of seed-raised flowers. He passed away in 2006.

You can order seed of Nicotiana ‘Bronze Queen’ from Chiltern Seeds, and from Kings Seeds, and from Nicky’s Nursery and from Plants of Distinction.
*Please note, the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and do not constitute an endorsement by the RHS.

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