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You Can Grow That! February 2013: Love-in-the-Mist (Nigella)

Love-in-the-Mist (Nigella damascens). Photo courtesy John Herbst.

Just like a great romance, love-in-the-mist (Nigella damascena) ages well. Not only are the flowers beautiful, the seed heads have a magic all their own.

The fennel-like foliage is light and airy on plants that get 15 to 18 inches tall. This easy-to-grow annual is as lovely in a vase as it is in the garden. They also look nice dried.

Nigella grows best in full sun to part shade. To get yours started, sow seeds in early spring, as soon as the soil surface is thawed. You can also sow seeds in fall. Sprinkle seeds on the soil surface and brush lightly with your hand or a rake. The seeds need to have good contact with the soil, but they don’t need to be covered.

Nigella sativa's seeds are edible. Sometimes they are called black cumin.

Love-in-the-mist shamelessly self sows, but would never be considered invasive or overbearing. No matter what color you sow, eventually, there seem to be fewer blue flowers and many more of the white and just a smattering of pink. It blooms for about four weeks and tends to like cooler temperatures. For a continuous show, sow seeds a few weeks apart.

Another annual nigella, N. sativa, produces edible seeds, sometimes called black cumin.

 

 

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