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Also called love-in-a-mist, nigella is an airy annual and a wonderful plant for adding color and texture to open spots in the garden. The delicate daisy-like flowers make charming petite bouquets. After the petals drop, long-lasting seed pods form. The seed pods resemble tiny fairy lanterns and are some of the prettiest pods in the garden. Whether you plant nigella in a cottage garden or cutting garden, you are sure to enjoy this easy-to-grow annual.
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Nigella Care Must-Knows
Nigella is easiest to grow by seeding directly into the garden. Choose a full sun location with well-drained soil. Sow seeds into finely textured soil in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. In mild climates, sow nigella in cool fall weather for spring bloom. Sow seeds 2 to 3 inches apart and cover with 1/4 inch of soil. For an informal, cottage garden planting, broadcast seeds thinly in a garden bed and cover with ¼ inch of fine soil. Thin young seedlings before they get too crowded. Thin or transplant seedlings to 4 to 5 inches apart.
Sow a new crop of nigella every three weeks or so from early spring through early summer for season-long cottage flowers. Nigella's self-seeding nature is often appreciated in cottage garden settings, and young seedlings are easy to pull or remove if desired. You can reduce self-seeding by deadheading plants as soon as the petals fall.
Nigella seed pods can be dried for use in arrangements. Cut the seed pods shortly after the petals drop and before the pods mature and split. Gather stems into loose bundles and hang them upside down out of direct sun to dry.