Frank L. Teuton Sr., 89, a retired director of information in the Bureau of Chemistry in the Department of Agriculture and an authority on camellias and steamboating on the Tennessee River, died Monday at his home in Oxon Hill. He had cancer.

Mr. Teuton, who was born in Right, Tenn., became a "cub" pilot on steamboats plying the Tennessee when he was a young man. He later graduated from Bowling Green College in Kentucky; taught school and was an agricultural agent in Tennessee, and earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture at Peabody College in Nashville.

After Army service during World War I, he became head of the agriculture department of what is now Memphis State College. He moved to Vanceboro, N.C., where he was superintendent of the Farm Life School, and later was an agricultural agent and public relations man for the Illinois Central Railroad.

In 1929, Mr. Teuton moved to the Washington area and began his career with the Department of Agriculture. He started as a script writer for the department's "Farm and Home Hour" radio program and later was appointed director of information for the Bureau of Chemistry, a post he held until his retirement in 1962. $ his principal duties were to publicize advances in agricultural technology. To this end, he organized and developed "Research on Parade," a show that he took to all 50 states, to Puerto Rico, to U.S. territories and to Canada. It consisted of himself as moderator and master-of-ceremonies, a display kit, and, sometimes, employes of Agriculture who modeled newly developed fabrics.

Mr. Teuton received the department's Superior Service Award in 1955 and the secretary of Agriculture's Partner in 4-H Award in 1964.

In retirement, Mr. Teuton wrote three books on steamboating, "Steamboat Days on the Tennessee River," "Steamboating on the Upper Tennessee" and "Log of the Julia Belle Swain."

A gardener for most of his life, Mr. Teuton was particularly fond of growing camellias and was a founder of the Camellia Society. He is credited with introducing the outdoor cultivation of these flowers in the Washington area.

In 1978, he moved to West Palm Beach, Fla., but returned to Oxon Hill shortly before his death.

Mr. Teuton's survivors include his wife, Martha, of Oxon Hill; one daughter, Mary Jo Ross, of Franklin, N.C.; one son, Frank L. Jr., of Oxon Hill; eight grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Heart Fund of the American Heart Association, to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, or the the Camellia Society.