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Is it legal to grow tobacco in the U.K?
Yes, it is completely legal to grow your own tobacco as long as it is to be smoked by yourself, however the usual duty obligations still apply once your tobacco is in a form in which it can be smoked. There are laws that you must adhere to should you want to sell the tobacco you have grown.
What are my responsibilities for tax on home grown tobacco? 
There is no such thing as legal duty free tobacco, as duty is calculated by the weight of tobacco that is produced. The duty on tobacco products is set every year within the annual budget. There is duty to be paid for every kilo of rolling tobacco produced and every thousand cigarettes produced, as well as duty on the sale price of tobacco products. It is your responsibility to volunteer this duty once you have processed your home grown tobacco into a form in which it can be smoked. Home growing tobacco is still however a good way of obtaining very cheap tobacco.
Is the tobacco plant easy to grow?
Yes, the hard part of growing tobacco is in germinating the seed and bringing it on to a stage where it is ready to plant out, this requires very specific growing conditions. Also, as tobacco seeds are very small it can take some patience to get tobacco plants to a size at which they are ready to plant out. However at we do this for you so that you can simply plant them out in your garden, make sure they don’t get too dry, harvest your plants at the end of the season and cure for smoking. The success rate of home growing tobacco this way is very high. Our free guide will tell you everything you need to know about this.
When do I harvest my tobacco plants?
Always harvist your tobacco plants before the first frost, this may be around the end of October in some parts of the U.K, however you should start picking leaves from your plants as soon as they begin to turn yellow around the edges. This will happen from the bottom of the plant up. If some leaves have still not turned yellow before the first frost you can just cut the whole plant at this stage and hang to dry and cure. Check out our free guide for full instructions.
Will the tobacco plant grow anywhere in the U.K?
Almost, if you are in very cold areas like the highlands of Scotland then you may not obtain great results. However tobacco plants have been grown with great success in almost all parts of the U.K. and there are measures you take to improve success in even the coldest parts.
What problems might I run into while growing tobacco plants?
1) Slugs and snails – These pests absolutely love to eat tobacco plants. You can use any slug and snail control product to handle this. If however like us you like to do things the organic way you can simply make sure you plant out plenty of plants to cover the risk, make sure there are no piles of rubbish around your tobacco plants that slugs and snails can hide under and remove any that you find before they do too much damage. Once your tobacco plants are established you should have no problem with them.
2) Wind – If your tobacco plants are planted out in a particularly windy area you may need to provide canes for extra support as they grow taller.
3) Bolting – This is where a plant runs to seed before it has put on enough weight to make a good harvest. As it is the tobacco leaves that are smoked and not the flowers or seeds, good foliage production may be encouraged by using a high nitrogen base fertiliser and avoiding phosphorus, and potassium components in the fertiliser. Making sure you don’t let your tobacco plants dry out too much will also prevent bolting. If you do see any flowers forming on your tobacco plants just snip them off before your plant runs to seed.
For a more in depth look take a look at our free guide.
What kind of soil does the tobacco plant prefer?
Tobacco plants grow well in a wide variety of soil types and are not fussy about where they grow, however you will get a better crop if you use a rich soil that has plenty of organic matter dug into it. Avoiding heavy clay soil types is also a good idea; however this can be remedied by incorporating peat or other organic matter into your soil. You can also feed your tobacco plants with a general purpose fertiliser; however never use tomato feed or similar as this will encourage your plants to produce flowers and seeds rather than the leaves that you are looking to harvest. Tobacco plants are happy in either full sun or partial shade; In fact some forms of cigar smoking tobacco are grown in shade to make sure the leaves stay thin in order to create a fine leaf that rolls easily and smokes smoothly.
How much space does a tobacco plant need?
The ideal spacing for tobacco plants is 1m apart; however they can be planted closer than this if space is of a premium.
Can my tobacco plants be grown in a pot?
Yes, tobacco plants grow perfectly well in a pot as long as they are given plenty of water. A 5ltr pot should be fine for each plant however the bigger the pot the better and you'll get larger plants in a larger pot, a 12ltr pot is ideal. General purpose compost is the best potting medium for potted tobacco plants.
How do I process my tobacco plants so that they are ready to smoke?
As the leaves of your tobacco plants begin to turn yellow around the edges, pick the leaves off from the bottom of the plant, working up as they ripen. You will then need a well ventilated and preferably humid place to hang them to cure. A garage or large shed is ideal for curing smoking tobacco. Allow your tobacco crop to hang for 4-5 weeks, and then you can start to take a few leaves to shred. The longer you leave your tobacco to cure the smoother smoke you will get, so only shred the leaves as you require them. There are many ways of curing tobacco and like brewinga fine wine there is a lot you can learn, so with a little research and experimentation you should soon find the best way to create your desired smoke. Advanced tobacco curing methods are covered in our free guide.
Will my plants from be organic?
At we avoid synthetic fertilisers and pest control, for one thing it is not a nice thought when you consider smoking the final product, however as we don’t yet have official organic certification we cannot state that our products are organic. We are working to all of the working practices required to gain this status and as soon as we do have certification we’ll let you know.
Can ship plants to outside of the U.K?
Although it is possible to get certification to import live plants into most countries it is more often than not very costly. Therefore we would not recommend taking this rout unless a very large number of plants were required. If you would like to look into this possibility further you first need to consult your country’s authorities on the import of live plants and check if there are specific laws relating to the import of tobacco plants. If you are satisfied with the viability of importing plants from us then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
For a more in depth guide into growing and processing tobacco at home please help yourself to a copy of our free guide.
If you have any other questions that have not been answered within this FAQ page or our free guide please contact us.
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