What is Love-In-A-Mist?

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  • Written By: J.L. Drede
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 02 February 2019
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Love-in-a-mist is the common name for the Nigella damascena, a flowering plant native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. It is sometimes referred to as a devil-in-the-bush plant as well. It is a relative of the buttercup plant, and has been a popular plant for home gardens around the world since the 16th century. It is often used as an accent to larger, thicker plants vecause of its thin foliage.

The love-in-a-mist is an annual plant that usually reaches about 14 to 20 inches (35 to 50 cm) in length and 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) in width. Its flowers bloom in the spring and early summer, and are usually blue. Lavender, pink and purple variations are not uncommon though. Different cultivations of the plant produce different colors. One popular type, the Miss Jekyll, producers flowers that are dark purple in color.

Another common type, the Persian Jewels, grows flowers that are pink, blue or white. The leaves of the flower are usually around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) across and very thin. The flowers are later replaced by large fruit that have five seed capsules in them. Gardeners will often take the pods and save them for future arrangements. Flowers that are cut before turning into pods are usually long-lasting.


The love-in-a-mist will only thrive in certain soil conditions. It does best in well-drained, fertile soil, and requires a moderate amount of sunlight. It does not do well in exceptionally hot climates. Provided it has the right soil and light amount of light, a love-in-the-mist can be successfully planted in window boxes, hanging baskets, borders, between shrubs or in mass plantings. Seedlings should be planted about eight to ten inches apart to prevent overcrowding and promote full growth. If planted outside, the love-in-a-mist will require plenty of water to combat any long dry spells that might occur. Fertilizer should be fed to the plant on a monthly basis as well.

In addition to its use as a popular garden plant, the love-in-a-mist has been used throughout history in other ways. In some cultures it is seen as a medicinal plant. Its seeds have been traditionally used to treat conditions as wide-ranging as diarrhea, colic and menstruation pain. None of these treatments have ever been proven to work, however. Seeds of the plant have also been used in cooking for their aroma. In India, both the seed and the flower of the plant are used to defer moths from invading closet space and damaging clothing.



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