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Backyard Botanist: Potting Your Tobacco Plants

By Kevin Robinson in Miscellaneous on May 11, 2010 6:00PM

It's been a few weeks since we last checked in our tobacco crop, and they've grown quite a bit. With the days getting longer and the weather set to warm up soon, we'll be moving our plants outside into fresh air and better sunlight. In the meantime, though, they've gotten too big for the cells we planted them in. Over the weekend, we repotted the plants, using larger pots and fresh soil, so they can grow a more developed root system and get bigger before we move them outside.

Tobacco plants are pretty hearty - growing them in Chicago's climate won't be too difficult, but it's important to make sure that they've grown enough to take root in larger pots and thrive outdoors. The smaller pots that we used this weekend will help the plants make the transition from planting trays they sprouted in.

Just like before, make sure that you use fresh, high-quality fertile potting soil and clean water. Mix the soil with water in a large mixing bowl, being careful not to get the soil too wet. Mix the dirt well, breaking up clumps of dirt and dry patches, and making sure that all of it is damp. Take the empty pot and fill it with soil, packing it down firmly, but not too hard, and taking care to leave an indentation where the plant will sit. Then ease the live plant out of the cell. Your tobacco plants should have roots all the way through the soil from the potting tray - those are the thin white strands you see. Set the plant down in the dirt of the pot, and cover it well so it sits firmly in the pot.

After you've repotted the best of your tobacco plants, water each one. The trick to watering plants is to make sure that the pot feels heavy and the soil looks dark. Set the plants in direct sunlight, and keep them watered. Tobacco plants take a lot of water, so it's important to keep the soil from drying out. In a few more weeks, they should be ready for large containers and a fun summer outdoors.