Nigella damascena
Common Name: love-in-a-mist 
Type: Annual
Family: Ranunculaceae
Native Range: Northern Africa, southern Europe
Zone: 2 to 11
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Blue with cultivars in white, pink, rose and purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried
Fruit: Showy


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Sow seed in the garden as soon as the ground can be worked. In cool summer climates, additional sowings can be done every 3-4 weeks until mid summer. Seed may also be started indoors about 6-8 weeks prior to last spring frost date, but plants dislike transplanting and results can be disappointing. Plants like consistent moisture. Deadheading spent flowers will extend bloom period, but will also prevent development of the attractive post-bloom seed pods. Plants will self-seed in the garden.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Nigella damascena, commonly called love-in-a-mist, is a popular cool weather annual that features solitary blue flowers (to 1 1/2” wide) atop stems clad with finely-cut, thread-like leaves. Plants typically grow to 1.5-2’ tall. In St. Louis, plants bloom in late spring, but significantly decline by mid summer as high temperatures become the norm. Flowers give way to unusual, egg-shaped, horned seed capsules (to 1” diameter) that are covered with bristles. Stems with dried seed capsules make excellent additions to dried flower arrangements. Cultivars (some with double flowers) come in additional flower colors including white, pink, rose, violet and purple.

Genus name comes from the Latin word niger meaning black in reference to the color of the seeds.

Specific epithet means of Damascus, Syria.

Each solitary flower appears to sit on a bed of lacy (and misty) foliage, hence the common name.


No serious insect or disease problems.


Mixed beds and borders. Cottage gardens. Containers.