A Guide to Growing and Caring for Charming Love-in-a-Mist Flowers

Nigella (Nigella damascena) is often called “love-in-a-mist” because of the way its ferny, fennel-like leaves form a mist around the flowers. Once you see N. damascena in bloom, you will always recognize it by its unique swirl of airy bracts and delicate foliage.

The foliage of N. damascena plant is ferny, the flowers are fluffy, and the seed pods are intriguing. Best known for the vivid blue-blossom variety, love-in-a-mist also has cultivars that bloom in purples, pinks, and white. Plant these adaptable flowers in the spring or even in the fall. The plants grow to nearly two feet tall and bloom for several weeks, starting in the late spring. When they reseed on their own, youll have blooms through fall.

With their airy, fern-like foliage and colorful blooms surrounded by fascinating bracts, love-in-a-mist flowers bring whimsical beauty to gardens. Also known as nigella, these hardy annuals are easy to grow from seed and make carefree additions to flower beds, borders, and container gardens. Read on to learn more about cultivating these distinctive beauties.

Overview of Love-in-a-Mist Flowers

Before diving into growing details, let’s do a quick overview of what exactly love-in-a-mist is:

  • Botanical name is Nigella damascena, part of the buttercup family.

  • Native to southern Europe and parts of Asia and Africa

  • Grows 1-2 feet tall and can spread 1 foot wide,

  • Feathery, fern-like foliage forms an elegant “mist” around the flowers.

  • Blooms spring through early summer and sporadically into fall.

  • Flowers are blue, purple, pink, white or bicolored.

  • Followed by puffy seed pods with bold stripes.

  • Hardy in zones 3-9 and grown as an annual most places.

  • Low maintenance and easy to grow from seed.

Now that you’re acquainted with this beautiful flower, let’s look at how to successfully grow it yourself.

How to Plant Love-in-a-Mist

Love-in-a-mist thrives when directly sown in the garden. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a site with full sun to partial shade and average, well-draining soil.

  • In early spring, sow seeds 1/4 inch deep where you want plants to grow.

  • Space seeds 6-12 inches apart to allow for mature growth.

  • Water gently after sowing and keep soil moist until sprouting.

  • Thin seedlings or transplant extras at least 8-10 inches apart once established.

  • Can also start indoors 3-4 weeks before last frost but take care in transplanting.

Growing and Caring for Love-in-a-Mist

With basic care, love-in-a-mist is an easy and rewarding garden flower:

  • Water regularly to maintain evenly moist soil, avoiding extremes of too wet or dry.

  • Apply an all-purpose fertilizer at planting and monthly throughout blooming.

  • Deadhead spent flowers to encourage more blooms.

  • Cut flowers for bouquets before seed heads form to prolong flowering.

  • Remove developing seed pods if not collecting seeds.

  • Thin unwanted self-sown seedlings in fall or spring to control spread.

  • Cut plants back to the ground after flowering finishes in fall.

Popular Varieties to Grow

Some top varieties to look for when buying love-in-a-mist seeds:

  • Miss Jekyll – Classic variety with blue semi-double blooms.

  • Miss Jekyll Alba – White version of Miss Jekyll.

  • Mulberry Rose – Rosy pink colored flowers.

  • Oxford Blue – Deep blue blossoms on tall plants.

  • Persian Jewels Mix – Range of pink, purple, lavender and white.

  • Blue Midget – Dwarf 10-inch plants perfect for edging.

Tips for an Abundant Floral Display

Follow these tips for the most profuse blooms:

  • Start seeds in early spring as well as mid to late summer for fall flowers.

  • Make successive plantings every 2-3 weeks for continuous blooms.

  • Grow in organically rich, fertile soil amended with compost.

  • Choose a site with full sun to partial shade. Morning sun is ideal.

  • Space plants 8-12 inches apart to prevent crowding and competition.

  • Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.

  • Deadhead spent blooms and cut flowers to prolong flowering.

Saving Love-in-a-Mist Seeds

Let some blooms go to seed in fall to collect for next year:

  • Identify dried seed heads and pick when pods start splitting open.

  • Place in a paper bag and allow to fully dry in a warm spot for a week.

  • Shake the bag daily to separate out the gray-black seeds.

  • Store seeds in an envelope or jar in a cool location until planting time.

The Allure of Love-in-a-Mist Flowers

With their lacy foliage, colorful blooms, and fascinating seed pods, it’s easy to see why love-in-a-mist makes a charming addition to flower beds and container gardens. A cottage garden staple, these self-sowing annuals require minimal care while attracting pollinators and adding delightful whimsy to the landscape. Give them a try this spring and let these iconic flowers work their misty magic in your own garden.


By deadheading and cutting flowers for bouquets, you can make your plants flower for a little longer, but you’ll miss the interesting seed pods. Love-in-a-mist easily self-sows, so you can thin the seedlings to prevent overcrowding. Harvest for bouquets when flower buds have fully colored or pods have begun to develop.


N. Damask rose doesn’t care too much about the quality of the soil, but it will grow and bloom best in fertile, nutrient-rich soil. In its natural habitat, the plant grows best in sandy, moist soil that isn’t too wet. It also does best in soil that has a neutral pH. Love-in-a-mist can tolerate somewhat dry conditions as well as other types of soil, including loam, clay-loam, and gravelly.

How To grow Nigella | Love In A Mist


Is love-in-a-mist a perennial or annual?

Love-in-a-mist is a charming, old-fashioned annual flower. Love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena, is a charming old-fashioned flower that blooms in spring and early summer.

What flower means love-in-a-mist?

Nigella is also known as ‘love in a mist’ as the flowers are supported by a thread-like leaf structure, known as a ruff, giving the appearance of the flowers being surrounded by a mist.

Do love in the mist come back every year?

How to sow Nigella or Love in a mist seeds: Nigella is an annual plant but can be sown in autumn under cover to ensure larger, more floriferous blooms the next spring and summer.

Is love-in-a-mist invasive?

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.

Leave a Comment