How to Grow Love-in-a-Mist in Zone 6b/7 – Ornamental Cut Flower Gardening

Hi Lovelies,

The love-in-a-mist flowers are finishing blooming in the garden, so I thought we’d take a look at my experience growing these unique flowers!

NAME: Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella)

TOXIC: YES. Always do your research and be responsible any time you add something new to the garden. Be aware of what you’re growing around kids, pets, and everyone else. Many ornamental plants and cut flowers are toxic. Use common sense, always wear gloves, wash hands, don’t touch your eyes or face, etc. Safety first! Before planting, ensure that plants are not considered invasive in your area. 

HOW: Easy to direct sow. Easy to germinate using the winter sowing method. Broadcasting seed onto prepared flower beds.

WHEN: In my garden, the best results come from seeds that were direct sown in fall (at the end of September in my garden). The seeds germinate and seedlings survive the winter. Overwintering of seedlings seems to vary greatly. One variety survived without much loss, but another variety completely died and did not make it through the winter. Obviously, results will vary from garden to garden. Overall, I had a decent success rate.  My seedlings survived a few nights down to 8F, with little damage.  They were also briefly covered in snow.

Direct sowing the seeds in the spring as soon as soil can be worked is also an option.  The resulting plants from a spring planting were much smaller, but the stems were still usable for bouquets. I imagine that people who live in cooler climates might be able to even succession sow these seeds for a longer bloom time, but I don’t think it would be very effective in my garden.

Love-in-a-Mist appear to germinate best when temperatures are cool. While I’m not sure if they require a period of cold before germination, this requirement would naturally be met when planted in the fall. The seeds also respond well to use of the winter sowing method. This year, I plan on trying to grow love-in-a-mist as a biennial in hopes of bigger plants and more blooms next spring.

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4 thoughts on “How to Grow Love-in-a-Mist in Zone 6b/7 – Ornamental Cut Flower Gardening

  1. After an annual flower is done blooming, what do you do, or recommend one should do, with that ground space? For example, are there flowers one can plant there that will then bloom later in the summer?

    1. I think it just depends on what you want. For example, I usually let the annuals just die naturally and turn brown. That way, I can collect their seeds for next year (the open pollinated ones, at least.) If you don’t want the “ugly” plants, you can mow them down and plant something else like celosia, zinnias, or sunflowers. I specifically like those three because they grow and bloom very quickly and do well in our hot summers. Another option is to plant a cover crop in and let the soil rest for a bit before the next planting season. Since I have a lot of flower beds, I try to “rotate” the beds so that every year a few of them get a cover crop and can get some nutrients back into the soil instead of planting something new. Hope this helped! 🙂

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