Nigella Species, Devil in a Bush, Hair of Venus, Love-in-a-Mist, Ragged Lady

Nigella damascena

Family: Ranunculaceae (ra-nun-kew-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Nigella (ny-JELL-luh) (Info)
Species: damascena (dam-ASK-ee-nuh) (Info)
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:



Magenta (pink-purple)

Light Blue

Dark Blue

Medium Blue



Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Arley, Alabama

Huntsville, Alabama

Anchorage, Alaska

Little Rock, Arkansas

Arcata, California

Berkeley, California

Clayton, California

Eureka, California

Fairfield, California

Georgetown, California

Indio, California

Merced, California

Middletown, California

Mountain View, California

Richmond, California

Salinas, California

San Anselmo, California

San Diego, California

San Jose, California

San Leandro, California

Santa Ana, California

Santa Clara, California

Sebastopol, California

Stockton, California

Willits, California(2 reports)

Newark, Delaware

Valparaiso, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia(2 reports)

Idaho Falls, Idaho

Rathdrum, Idaho

Aurora, Illinois

Beecher, Illinois

Divernon, Illinois

Glendale Heights, Illinois

Anderson, Indiana

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Tompkinsville, Kentucky

Deridder, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

West Monroe, Louisiana

South China, Maine

Cumberland, Maryland

Mechanicsville, Maryland

Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Brown City, Michigan

Lake Orion, Michigan

Cambridge, Minnesota

La Crescent, Minnesota

Winona, Minnesota

Clinton, Mississippi

Springfield, Missouri

Bayville, New Jersey

Farmington, New York

Ithaca, New York

Scottsville, New York

Van Etten, New York

West Kill, New York

Concord, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Akron, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Columbia Station, Ohio

Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Cave Junction, Oregon

Drain, Oregon

Millerstown, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Somerset, Pennsylvania

Waynesburg, Pennsylvania

Columbia, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Christiana, Tennessee

Clarksville, Tennessee

Knoxville, Tennessee

Lenoir City, Tennessee

Allen, Texas

Austin, Texas

Dickinson, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Rockport, Texas

Rockwall, Texas(2 reports)

San Antonio, Texas

Ogden, Utah

Bristol, Virginia

Woodbridge, Virginia

Alderwood Manor, Washington

Bellevue, Washington

Brier, Washington

CHIMACUM, Washington

Cashmere, Washington

Chewelah, Washington

Freeland, Washington

Kalama, Washington

La Conner, Washington

Seattle, Washington(3 reports)

Spokane, Washington

Sumner, Washington

Woodland, Washington

Marinette, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 30, 2021, Exceller from Groton, CT wrote:

2021 is my first year planting nigella here in southeastern Connecticut. The "leaves" are like delicate fern. The flowers are amazingly different and beautiful. Each plant has multiple buds and so far they are dark blue center with lighter blue outer petals. My only surprise is that the stems are weak resulting in the plant creeping along the soil as it gets older. I find it exotic and lovely


On Aug 4, 2017, camille4 from Fulton, TX wrote:

I found this flower when i first visited a new friend about 12 years ago in Austin, TX. It is so beautiful and the color of blue is surreal. I harvested the seeds as well as planted new ones. I had a perennial garden and they were the low flowering plants under the taller ones and they need a little shade where it's hot. I had to order the seeds but grew it every year before moving to Rockport, TX on the coast. Sadly, I cannot get it to grow here. It will come up and die - too hot, too humid, too sandy, whatever it makes me sad because the lacey leaves are as lovely as the flowers. I would never cause such as pretty flower a pest........


On Jul 31, 2017, leemiller38 from Stockton, CA wrote:

This plant becomes a weed. One other person gave it a negative and I second it. I still haven't gotten rid of it after 20 years of trying. It is pretty and alluring but beware---you will get more than you bargained for.


On Jul 31, 2017, goulot from Canton, MI wrote:

I have both blue and pink ones, in different parts of the garden. They reseed themselves profusely, so there is no need to collect seeds, unless you want to selected a particular shade of blue or pink (which I did).

If you let them reseed themselves, be sure to thin the seedlings; otherwise, you will end up with a multitude of sickly little plants, just a few inches high. Properly thinned, mine grow to about two feet.

The seeds are also used in cooking (Middle-Eastern recipes if I am not mistaken).


On Jul 8, 2015, amnaparvin from Seoul,
South Korea wrote:

Hello, i need aerial part of nigella damascena for my research. can anyone provide me sample? i will be thankful.


On Jun 25, 2014, andy_in_okf from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I purchased white Love in a Mist seeds from Mount Vernon. I was able to get them to grow in Oklahoma in mostly shade. They grow about 8". It has barely reseeded but is a perennial. This year I realized how to release the seeds from the pod and will see if that will help it spread.


On May 17, 2014, Avalonparker from Vancouver, BC,
Canada wrote:

Please add to the list of where it grows
that it also grows well in Vancouver, B.C., Canada


On Feb 3, 2014, Oberon46 from (Mary) Anchorage, AK (Zone 4b) wrote:

A lovely plant and even more lovely flower. Like blue fairies. I planted Miss Jekyl two years ago. It does not come back like it does down south so this year I bought a jeweled variety. Hope they do well and will save seeds. Wonderful filler up here.


On Sep 3, 2012, cargarden from Goodview, MN wrote:

This plant is a must have, grow some of them in my front yard & always get great comments on them. I always forget sometimes to collect the seeds as I do for Cleome. Love them


On Jul 18, 2012, bigarden from Beecher, IL wrote:

I planted this once. What a mistake I made! It took me years to get rid of its progeny. It is at least as hardy and prolific as any weed. I would NOT recommend it. I also don't care for its appearance.


On Jul 3, 2012, TiaLee1 from Rathdrum, ID (Zone 5b) wrote:

Yes, this is easy to grow from seed and is a pretty plant from foliage to seed pods.

However, if you do not want to be pulling out the seedlings of this prolific self-seeder forever, either don't grow it or put it somewhere it can run fee. Once planted, you will never need to plant it again. And may well wish you never had.


On Jun 8, 2012, VioletDumplin from Mobile City, TX wrote:

This is the first year I've grown love-in-a-mist and it's really a cool plant. Flowers very profusely and grows easily from seed. Here lately, however, it's been whispering nasty things to me as I stop to admire it: horrible, god-forbidden things that no human should hear. So be warned, it's beauty and easy nature mask something much more dark and sinister. Still I suppose I will harvest some seeds and continue enjoying its delicate beauty year after year, just with my hands over my ears.


On Feb 28, 2012, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

A very nice plant, both for the flower and the seed head. Blooms May-July in my garden. The number of seedlings that survive the winter is amazing!


On Mar 29, 2011, dsigngrrl from Springfield, MO wrote:

This unusual looking flower was here when I bought the house, and only through research did I find out what it was. It has self seeded each year, and I am very happy to note that this year is no exception. In fact, it did such a good job of it, I moved some to other locations throughout my yard to various gardens. So far, so good. I love this little guy, pretty ferny leaves, crazy beautiful flower, interesting seed pods... what's not to love?


On May 12, 2010, Lady_B from Bellevue, WA wrote:

The seeds for this plant were in a Wildflower packet I planted last April. We built a brand new raised garden with a 10 yd order of compost-topsoil-sand mix from a large nursery in Kent WA.
I sprayed "Spray and Grow" on the foliage 3 times during growing season. I had no idea what flowers to expect, and until today I did not know the name of this flower. The plant grew over 4 ft before any flowers appeared. The beautiful fine feathery foliage made a wonderful filler in other bouquets, as still no blossoms had appeared. Mid summer some buds began to appear and there was one single pink blossom at the top of each nearly 5 ft. plant.
Quite an experience, so I've found another wild flower packet and will plant this weekend. Of course, last summer was glorious. We actually saw t... read more


On Oct 15, 2009, marti001 from Somerset, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

I grew this wonderful flower in my garden in Calif. Ventura County. It flourished and reseeded itself. Plus, as I had planted a mix of colors, after the second year I started to see other colors. It had cross pollenated itself and I had some stricking new colors. I miss it terribly and have added it to my want list for my new garden here in KY.


On May 11, 2009, anelson77 from Seattle, WA wrote:

These hardy annuals reseed so reliably they may as well be perennial in Seattle. The seed germinate and the feathery foliage appears in the fall, and even survives hard freezes and snow. Mine are a divine light blue in the late spring. They grow everywhere, sun or part shade, dry or watered, in poor soil with no fertilizer. They are not weedy though, maybe slightly too freely reseeding but easy to pull where not wanted. After they bloom the dried seedpods are interesting looking.


On Jul 23, 2008, colliwobbles from (Jana) Shoreline, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I scattered some seeds in a not-so-great flower bed back in 2004, and the flowers have become a perennial for me. This year, they produced the biggest plant yet, and it grew from a seed that must have been carried into our gravel driveway!


On Dec 1, 2007, Almaden from San Jose, CA wrote:

Another presentation of the lovely seed pod that is very attractive in floral arrangements: cross-sectioned. Cutting the seed pod cleanly through the middle (perpendicular to the stem) reveals the beautiful symmetry of the chambers of the pod, decorated with the little black dots of the seeds.
This is a plant that keeps on giving visual pleasure in its many forms.


On Feb 14, 2005, kviolette from Raleigh, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is one of my favorite and most reliable plants in the garden. They self sow in sufficient numbers that voles cannot eat them all; they bloom Mayish after the seedlings winter over (Raleigh, NC Z7b/8a); and they remain ornamental all season long. They begin with blooms ranging in color from white to blue and with few pinks here and there and finish off with greatly interesting seed pods. Then, in late August, hundreds of seedlings begin poking up when the rest of the garden is thinking about winding down for the year. Highly recommend planting some!



On Jun 2, 2004, tzatzu from Santa Maria, CA wrote:

Very easy to grow. When left to self seed a new crop comes up all year long (on Central Coast, CA). The buds and flowers make beautiful cut flower arrangements. The flowers last up to 4 days in plain water. . .may last longer with use of florist tricks.


On May 27, 2004, angelam from melbourne,
Australia wrote:

I let this plant self-seed all over my garden. They flower early and can be over and removed while other plants are still getting underway. The blue form starts a wishy-washy shade and darkens over the 2-3 days individual blooms last. I also grow them for the seed pods which can last for weeks. I've found the blue flower pods are rather non-descript, and so get removed except for the few plants I leave for seed. The white flowers have pods that are a rather attractive pinky grey colour which look quite impressive left in clumps in a perennial bed.


On Aug 7, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I've found that seeds planted in the spring as normally recommended produces small plants that grow small flowers. They do much better when the seed is scattered in the summer. They sprout, overwinter as seedlings, and then shoot up and look great in the spring. They're done flowering about the time the perennials are coming into it, so then you pull out all the spent Nigella and let the perennials take over. A nice ferny filler to let self-sow. You need to watch the flowers, though, if you like the doubles. I promptly pull out the ones that are singles to try to keep the doubles reseeding.


On Jan 4, 2001, lantana from (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows in Heat Zones 12-2.


On Nov 5, 2000, gardener_mick from Wentworth, SD (Zone 4a) wrote:

Love-in-a-mist is an annual that grows 1 to 1-1/2' tall. This plant has a branching habit. The most common colors are blue and white; but pink, red, and purple are also available. The foliage is lacey and fern-like giving the plant an airy feel. The flower is short-lived, but if seeds are sown every 2-3 weeks, you can extend this period through the summer. This plant is native to southern Europe and North Africa.

The seed pods are great for dried arrangements. To dry them, you need to cut the pods when they are still green and fresh looking. Wrap the stems with a piece of wire or string and hang upside down in a dry place until they are dry.

Two varieties are: 'Persian Jewels' and 'Miss Jekyll'