If you’re looking for a reliable annual flowering plant that offers a wide range of flower color options, the good old-fashioned Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena) is definitely worth noting. 

Love-in-a-Mist (Nigella damascena) Meaning, Types, Uses, and Growing Tips

The flowers, which bloom in shades of pink, white, lavender, and blue, make an excellent choice not just for gardens but also for container gardening, or even as cut flowers for floral arrangements.

Read on below to know all about this beautiful ornamental, including Love-in-a-Mist growing tips, popular varieties to grow, plant history and significance, flower meaning and symbolism, and more.  

The Essentials: Love-in-a-Mist Plants

Plant Family:Ranunculaceae
Scientific Name:Nigella damascena
Native Range:Eastern Mediterranean to Western Asia
Colors:Blue, pink, white, purple, and sometimes red
Characteristics:Feathery foliage and distinctive seed pods
Mature Height:15 to 24 inches
Flowering Season:Late spring to early summer
Growing Zones:2 to 10
Sunlight:Full sun to partial shade
Watering:Moderate, evenly moist soil
Soil:Well-draining soil with average to low fertility
Fertilizing:Once or twice in the growing season with a balanced fertilizer
Common Pests:Aphids, spider mites, thrips, and leaf miners
Pruning:Deadheading can promote continued flowering
Symbolism:Symbolizes unity and fidelity, also used in traditional medicine for various ailments

About Love-in-mist Flowers: 

About Love-in-mist Flowers

Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena), otherwise known as the devil in the bush, is an annual flowering plant that belongs to the Ranunculaceae or buttercup family. Native to various regions, including southwest Asia, north Africa, and southern Europe, you can find this plant growing in fields, roadsides, or rocky waste grounds.

This flowering plant has a short bloom period, but making several plantings in three weeks intervals would give continuous flowering periods throughout all summer. 

Love-in-a-Mist Botanical Characteristics

Love-in-a-mist is a fast-growing small to medium plant that reaches only about 15 to 24 inches tall and 12 inches wide upon full maturity. It is an annual plant with an upright or erect form. 

The flowers of love-in-a-mist bloom in spring and early summer. They typically come in shades of vivid blue to pale blue, but some cultivars offer other color options like lavender, pink, and white. Individual flowers are solitary and small, measuring up to 1.5 inches wide, with five petal-like sepals and small petals. 

The upright stems hold the flowers and the mist-like, needle-lobed bracts. Leaves are compound and made up of two or more feathery, bright green leaflets that are arranged alternately. The leaf edges have no spines or lobes. 

The fruit of love-in-a-mist is a capsule type, dry, and splits open when ripe. Each fruit, which measures about 1.5 to 2 cm long, is green with bronze or purple stripes and turns brown as it matures. 

Popular Love-in-a-Mist Varieties to Grow

Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll’

One of the most popular love-in-a-mist types is the Miss Jekyll variety. It is known for its decorative sky-blue flowers that typically measure 4cm across and bloom for up to eight weeks. Like any other love-in-a-mist varieties, both the flowers and the equally stunning foliage of this favored variety make great fillers to floral arrangements.  

Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll Dark Blue’

N. damascena ‘Miss Jekyll Dark Blue’ is almost similar to the well-known ‘Miss Jekyll’ variety except that this variety features deep blue bloom instead of sky blue. Individual flowers measure 4cm across and bloom from early to late summer. 

Nigella damascena ‘Miss Jekyll Alba’

Another favored cultivar is the Miss Jekyll Alba love-in-a-mist that features pure white double flowers with green seed pods. It has won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. 

Nigella damascena ‘Oxford Blue’

This variety is taller than most love-in-a-mist cultivars. It features deep blue blooms and dark seed pods. 

Nigella damascena ‘Mulberry Rose’

The Mulberry Rose love-in-a-mist variety features blooms in deep pink hues. 

Nigella damascena ‘Persian Jewels’ Group/ Series 

The Persian Jewels group of love-in-a-mist features colorful semi-double blooms in shades of pink, white, and blue.  

The Meaning & Symbolism of Love-in-a-Mist Flowers

The Meaning & Symbolism of Love-in-a-Mist Flowers


The genus name Nigella originates from the Latin word niger which translates to “black” and refers to the plant’s black seeds. Because of this, love-in-a-mist plants are also sometimes referred to as nigella.

Meanwhile, the species name damascena refers to the ancient city of Damascus in southwestern Syria, where it is believed to grow prolifically in the wild. 

Love-in-a-mist is sometimes referred to as the devil in the bush plant because of its seed pods. The pods, which are balloon-shaped or head-shaped with spikes on the top that look like “horns,” are formed after flowering. 

Aside from being known as love-in-a-mist and devil in the bush, N. damascena is also referred to as Bird’s Nest, Chase the Devil, St. Catherine’s Flower, Katherine’s Flower, Garden Fennel, and Love in a Tangle, among others. 

Love-In-A-Mist Meaning and Symbolism

The love-in-a-mist flowers hold several meanings in the language of flowers. The blue love-in-a-mist flowers, in particular, mean long-lasting love. However, due to their wide uses across different cultures, the flowers are generally interpreted as a symbol of unrequited love regardless of bloom color. 

The appearance of the flowers likewise holds another meaning in the language of flowers. Since each bloom looks like it’s surrounded by a mist-like arrangement of almost fern-like foliage, love-in-a-mist plants are sometimes perceived as a symbol of harmony and romance. It symbolizes a certain bond and closeness that holds people altogether. 

In addition, the other common names of love-in-a-mist that refer to the name Catherine (such as St. Catherine’s flower and Katherine’s flower) tell a whole new set of meanings. 

Traditionally, love-in-a-mist plants are dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria because its flowers resemble the wheel that was used to torture her when she refused to renounce her Christian faith. The leaves, on the other hand, represent the martyr Christian saint’s sacrifice. 

Uses and Benefits of Love-in-a-Mist

Uses and Benefits of Love-in-a-Mist

Love-in-a-Mist plants work well in cottage gardens, or even informal home gardens. Because of their size, the plants make excellent fillers in borders or beddings, especially when planted in groups. Maximize their beauty by planting them together with other annual ornamentals for a colorful display of blooms.

Individual plants, on the other hand, are great for containers, plant boxes, and hanging baskets. When in full bloom, the flowers attract pollinators like bees. 

The seeds of love-in-a-mist are edible (either raw or cooked) and taste like nutmeg. Typically, they are used as condiments, for culinary purposes, and for medicinal uses. The plant also produces essential oil, which is often used in perfumes and cosmetics.  

As medicinal plants, Nigella plants, in general, are being used worldwide since ancient times. The plants in the genus are known for their antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. They are also used as antiparasitic and antioxidant medicinal plants. 

How to Grow Love-in-a-Mist

How to Grow Love-in-a-Mist

Love-in-a-mist plant is fast-growing and easy to grow. It prefers sandy, loamy, or clay soil with good drainage and mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil pH. While most flowering plants can thrive in both sunny and partial shade conditions, love-in-a-mist prefers a sunny location as it does not grow well if planted in the shade where sunlight is insufficient. 

Sow seeds during spring directly where you want the plant to grow and flower. You can collect the seeds when the seed pod turns brown and papery. Keep in mind, though, that the love-in-a-mist plant is self-seeding and may reproduce on its own. 

When planting love-in-a-mist, sow seeds 3 to 6 inches apart and about a quarter inch deep. If the soil is dry, water thoroughly before sowing the seeds. Seeds germinate 2 to 3 weeks after planting.

Caring for Love-in-a-Mist Plants

Planting is not the only easy part when growing a love-in-a-mist plant. Once the plant is established, it requires little to no attention as the care and maintenance needed are only minimal. 

Pests and diseases are not an issue as well. These plants have no reported serious pests or diseases. Keeping the area clean and the plants healthy will help prevent any infestation. 

Deadheading is not necessary but is advised if you wish to prolong the plant’s flowering period.

Love-in-a-Mist FAQs:

Can you grow love-in-a-mist in small pots? 

Likemost ornamentals, love-in-a-mist plants can be grown in pots and containers. However, size should be of consideration when choosing the right pot for your plant. Bigger pots will encourage optimum plant growth, while small and shallow pots will constrict root growth and limit flowering.

Can love-in-a-mist plants grow indoors?

Love-in-a-mist thrives best when planted outdoors as they prefer full exposure to sunlight.

How tall do love-in-a-mist plants grow? 

This beautiful flowering plant from the Ranuncalaceae family typically grows about 15 inches (38 cm) to 24 inches (60cm) in height.

What do love-in-a-mist flowers symbolize? 

Love-in-a-mist flower, in general, symbolizes unrequited love. However, it is also associated with harmony mainly because of how the flowers are formed and surrounded by a “mist” of thread-like leaves. The flowers’ appearance somehow represents the bond that connects people.

Is love-in-a-mist an excellent cut flower? 

Yes. Aside from love-in-a-mist’s uses in gardens, the ornamental plant’s blooms also make excellent cut flowers. The flowers are not only attractive and appealing, but they are also long-lasting and suitable for any floral arrangement. You can also dry the seed heads and use them for dried flower arrangements.

Love-in-a-Mist Guide: Wrapping Up 

A truly one-of-a-kind and reliable ornamental, love-in-a-mist plant is worth the attention whether you’re a novice gardener or already considering yourself a “pro” at growing a plant. 

This charming plant from the Buttercup family ticks off the right boxes in terms of beautiful flowers, uniqueness, and easy care and maintenance, among others. As long as you provide proper growing conditions and the right plant care and maintenance, love-in-a-mist will shower your garden with beautiful arrangements of flowers that blend well with the plant’s “mist” of feather-like foliage.

Editorial Director | Full Bio | + posts

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.


Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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