Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) - Hardy Annual

Love-in-a-mist is a popular cottage garden plant and has been grown in Britain since Elizabethan times although it has origins in the Southern Mediterranean, the Balkans and North Africa. Its Latin name, Nigella, is derived from nigellus meaning black, referring to the colour of its tiny seeds. It has delicate papery petals and frothy, fennel-like foliage.

Nigella arranged with Sweetpeas
Nigella 'Miss Jekyll' arranged with Sweetpeas

Common name: Love-in-a-mist

When to sow: Direct sow in early Autumn (Sep) or early Spring - early Summer (Nigella dislikes root disturbance, so best results come from direct sowing)

Flowering time: Late Spring (if Autumn sown) - mid-Summer (Spring sown)

Pinch out?: No

Conditions: Full sun in well-drained, poor soil

Feeding? No

Height: 50 cm/ 20"

Support?:  Support may be needed in the form of twiggy pea sticks if in a windy site

When to pick: When petals first start to unfurl. Pick seed pods when green

Recommended varieties: Blue 'Miss Jekyll', Pink 'Persian Rose', Nigella hispanica has dark red stamens and dark blue petals

Flower meaning: Often said to represent the chains that bind people together – usually in love, but sometimes in bitterness

Vase life: 7-10 days

Conditioning: Not needed

Good for: Adding a romantic, airy feeling to a vase. Ideal for weddings. Decorative seed heads look lovely when fresh or dried in the Winter