Nigella damascena is a popular ornamental flowering plant that will catch the attention of any passerby. The peculiar, but very attractive flowers of Nigella damascene are one of a kind, bringing a nice and refreshing vibe to absolutely every location, be it a garden, a balcony, or a container.
If you have any friend or family member that shares a passion for gardening, Nigella damascena will be a conversation starter. And even if you are a beginner gardener, this plant will make a perfect addition as it won’t require much effort to thrive.
We are happy to introduce you to one of the most exquisite plants you will ever meet. Nigella damascena, commonly known in cultivation as the Love-in-a-mist or Devin in the bush, is an annual flowering plant.
Love-in-a-mist is a member of the Ranunculaceae family, commonly referred to as the ‘buttercup family’ or ‘crowfoot family’. The Ranunculaceae family includes many popular ornamentals such as Ranunculus, Monkshood, Clematis, Delphiniums, Anemones, Columbines, Globeflowers, Helleborus, etc.
This bushy garden companion grows natively in several regions worldwide including southern Europe, southwest Asia, and North Africa.
It usually shows up in neglected and damp patches of land. The Love-in-a-mist plant has various landscape uses, making for an excellent addition to cottage gardens, mass plantings, rock gardens, woodland gardens, mixed beds and borders, and also in lovely containers for indoor or outdoor growing.
This plant has been a well-known and appreciated ornamental specimen in English cottage gardens since Elizabethan times. From that time until nowadays, gardeners have apprecated Love-in-a-mist for its low-demanding nature, fern-like foliage, eye-catching seed heads, and, of course, its unique, gorgeous flowers.
Are you excited to find out more about the interesting Nigella damascena a.k.a. Love-in-a-mist? Keep reading our guide for everything about this great ornamental plant!
- Its common name “Love-in-a-mist” refers to its spectacular flowers which appear nestled in rings of lacy bracts. The specific epithet “damascena” comes from the capital of Syria, Damascus, one of the native habitats of this plant.
- Nigella damascena comes along with numerous superb cultivars for garden use. They mostly vary in flower color. Some of these are ‘Persian Jewels’, ‘Albion’, ‘Oxford Blue’, ‘Miss Jekyll’, ‘Mulberry Rose’, ‘Persian Rose’, ‘Cambridge Blue’, ‘Miss Jekyll Alba’, ‘Dwarf Moody Blue’, and ‘Miss Jekyll Dark Blue’.
- Prized for their enchanting appearance and easy-going style, the ‘Miss Jekyll’ and ‘Miss Jekyll Alba’ are the recipients of the Award of Garden Merit, the most prestigious award in the gardening world, given by the Royal Horticultural Society.
- The Love-in-a-mist plant is a close relative of the Nigella sativa, which is the source of the popular spice usually known as nigella, black cumin, or kalonji.
- Nigella damascena plays an important role in Eastern traditional medicine as folks use parts of this plant as a great treatment for catarrhal affection, irregular menstruation, high temperature, cough, and others.
- The plant has a bewitching perfume so it comes as no surprise that its flowers attract many beneficial pollinators including native bees, butterflies, and moths. Its seeds are about 43.5% rich in fatty oil. People distillate an essential oil from Nigella damascena to use in perfumery and lipsticks.
- Your Love-in-a-mist plant will look even more stunning if you plant it near other good-looking species. The best companions for this plant are California Poppy, Cosmos, Dianthus, Geranium, Tagetes, Cornflowers, Calendulas, and any other ornamentals that have similar environmental requirements.
- The seeds of the Love-in-a-mist contain a toxic alkaloid known as damascenine. Some say that this alkaloid is pretty toxic to humans and also for animals if ingested in large amounts. For safety purposes, grow your Love-in-a-mist in a location where kids or pets cannot reach it and eat parts of it out of curiosity.
Love-in-a-Mist Features: An Overview
- The Love-in-a-mist plant belongs to the Nigella genus which consists of exactly 18 species of annual plants. Other common species in cultivation from this genus include Nigella sativa and Nigella arvensis.
- Nigella damascena is an upright, herbaceous, and annual flowering plant. No matter the cultivar, the plant can reach from 8 to 24 inches (20-60 cm) in height and 12 to 18 inches (30-45 cm) in width.
- The Love-in-a-mist plant has a habit of spreading fast and easy through self-sowing, tending to become somewhat invasive, especially if you plant it near legumes. It grows in an overall bushy shape.
- Its foliage contains finely-cut, feathery, fern-like, and green leaves that show up atop stems clad. The leaves form a mist around each flower of this plant.
- The Love-in-a-mist has a short blooming period of about one or two months. The plant should begin to produce flowers about three months or so after you plant it.
- You can prolong the flowering season of your Love-in-a-mist by planting more specimens continuously. If you do this, the plants will bloom from spring through autumn.
- During its blooming period, the Love-in-a-mist plant exhibits numerous showy flowers of about 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter. They have a wonderful color palette of pastels, featuring shades of white, blue, pink, lavender, rose, or purple.
- When the blossoms begin to fade, your Love-in-a-mist may bear fruits in their place. The fruits are large, inflated capsules that contain many seeds and turn brown in late summer. The balloon-shaped seed capsules are terrific decorative additions for dried flower arrangements.
If you are already impressed by the eye-appealing Love-in-a-mist, wait untill you see how easy it is to have it around and to grow and caring for it. The Love-in-a-mist plant will not bother you by demanding constant attention and it will surely not cause any trouble in case you are the forgetful type of gardener.
In other words, you can ignore this plant once in a while and it will forgive you and thrive when you come back to spoil it with a bit of love. However, you will have to meet some particular needs of your Love-in-a-mist if you want to turn growing this plant into a fun and rewarding experience.
In terms of lighting conditions, the Love-in-a-mist plant is very tolerant of a wide variety of exposures. Although this bushy companion will show up the best flowering out there when it receives full sunlight, it will also do pretty well in partially shaded areas. Make sure, however, that you provide your plant with more light than shade each day for optimal results.
When it comes to temperatures, the Love-in-a-mist plant is winter-hardy in the USDA regions 2 through 11. In general, this plant grows at its best in temperatures that range from 65 to 72 °F (18-22 °C) all year round. But thanks to its annual and hardy nature, it will not have any issue experiencing cold temperatures or frost.
Once established, your Love-in-a-mist plant will basically become problem-free regarding fungal diseases or pest infestations. This may be a result of the short-lived feature of this plant, as it does not typically live long enough to give pests or diseases a chance to disturb its peace.
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- Other common name: Persian Jewels, Wild Fennel, Nigella damascena, Devil-in-a-bush, Jack-in-the-green, Lady-in-the-bower
- The predominant colors of this mix are typically blue and white. Occasionally this flower is available in separate colors. It is perfect for cut and dried flower.
- Love-in-a-Mist is adapted to full sun areas and cultivated soils. It is also referred to as Devil-in-a-Bush.
- Love-in-a-Mist produces seed pods that can be dried and presented in flower arrangements. It will thrive during mild summers, but will not come into full bloom in hotter climates. This flower works great as a cut and dried flower.
- Scientific Name Nigella damascena Product Type Flower, Flower Mix Color Blue, Pink, Purple, White Cycle Annual Origin Introduced Height 18-24" Germination Time 10-20 days Bloom Season Summer Weeks to Bloom 10 to 11 weeks USDA Zone 2 to 11
- USDA Zones: 2-11
- Please take photos of your plants and upload them in a review! - Isla's Garden
Last update on 2023-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Since the Love-in-a-mist plant tends to spread itself through seeds, it will inevitably turn into an invasive specimen if you do not control its habit. But if want to prevent Love-in-a-mist from affecting the growth of other garden plants, we suggest you plant it at a distance of about 12 inches (30 cm) from other plants. This will give your Love-in-a-mist enough space to go wild and live the time of its life.
The Love-in-a-mist plant will show the best performance when it grows in fertile and well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. It typically thrives in sandy growing mediums that have a neutral soil pH, especially in its native areas or those environments that mimic them. However, the Love-in-a-mist plant is not as picky as it might appear at first.
This delicate plant can also grow just fine in other types of substrates, such as dry, gravelly, loamy, or clay-loam ones.
The Love-in-a-mist is one of those plants that you can also enjoy indoors, planted in attractive containers. It is wise to plant yours in a large container that will fit the mature plant from the beginning. The perfect pots for the Love-in-a-mist plant are the terracotta and clay types because these allow it to breathe properly.
At the moment of planting, your Love-in-a-mist plant will benefit if you provide it with an all-purpose fertilizer. The best way to do this is by applying the product directly to the soil, then feeding the plant once every month.
You can also trim your Love-in-a-mist plant from time to time to give it that well-known round, bushy overall look. Likewise, deadheading is a great partner if you wish your plant to bloom for a longer period. You should know that, when you are doing this, your plant will not have the chance to produce those showy seed pods.
In case you have a potted Love-in-a-mist specimen, you should forget about repotting it for good. Do not get us wrong! Transplanting this bush to another pot is 100% possible, but it is not necessary and we would not really recommend you to do it.
The Love-in-a-mist plant has taproots that are quite sensitive to any kind of disturbance. The great news is that you have less work to do, and you can simply choose a larger container for this plant from the start.
Luckily, the Love-in-a-mist plant does not require daily watering. This buddy is one of those ornamental plants that can deal with occasional periods of drought. This feature makes the Love-in-a-mist plant a great friend for companion for beginner gardeners who don’t really know how often they should water their beloved plants.
However, if the weather is very hot and dry for too long, the Love-in-a-mist plant will require a little extra help from you.
All you have to do to ensure your Love-in-a-mist plants are in top shape is to spoil them with water one or two times each week to keep them healthy and happy. The best way to water these plants is slowly and thoroughly until the first couple of inches of its growing medium do not seem dry anymore.
The Love-in-a-mist plant does not appreciate high levels of humidity and neither frequent rainfalls. Too much moisture may kill this plant with time, so it is very important to protect yours from this kind of environmental condition.
Propagating is not very common when it comes to the Love-in-a-mist plant. Due to its self-seeding habit, this bushy fellow will not need any extra effort on your part to surprise you with more specimens. Which, most often, are unwanted or uninvited visitors, especially for their plant neighbors.
But if this habit sounds more than exciting to you, you can basically allow your plant to reseed on its own when the time is right. And if you are lucky enough, the seeds may overwinter in the garden and exhibit lovely new specimens when the spring comes.
In case you want to sow the seeds elsewhere or just gift some of them to your family members or friends, things are quite simple. First things first, you will need to collect the seeds after the blooming period of your Love-in-a-mist, typically in late summer or fall.
Once you have them, you can sow them during the cold months in containers or wait for the warmth of spring and plant the seeds in your garden.
Sow the seeds in soil by gently pressing them in it and covering them lightly with the substrate. The seeds need a sunny spot and slightly warm soil temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) to germinate properly.
Moreover, you must keep the propagation medium constantly moist. If you are doing this in early summer, the seedlings will come up after two or three weeks.
It would be best to space the seedlings 2 to 9 inches (5-23 cm) apart to provide good air circulation and avoid overcrowding. Also, make sure to start seeds directly in the spot in which you want the future plants to remain. This should take place from the very beginning to avoid damaging their tiny roots during transplanting.
You might be wondering if propagating your Love-in-a-mist plant through division is possible. Unfortunately, this method is not suitable for the plant due to its fragile taproots.
It is safe to say that Love-in-a-mist is a one-of-a-kind ornamental plant. Its flowers are as pretty as a picture and its easy-to-grow nature makes this plant a great companion for beginner gardeners. Once you add this beauty to your collection, there is no doubt that it will quickly become your favourite plant!
Are you growing Nigella damascena a.k.a. Love-in-a-mist? Let us know what variety you love most and share your experience in the comment section!