Q: I have a mystery flower, grown from a wildflower seed mixture. I am not sure if the pods precede the flower, but I was hoping you could identify it.
A: It’s the fascinating-looking love-in-a-mist, Nigella damascena. The dianthus-like flowers bloom in spring, followed by the distinctive purple-striped seedpod. Plants are two to three feet tall; flowers can be pink, blue, or white. Leaves are thin and fern-like; they remind me of fennel leaves.
I’ve never seen the plants in a garden center. The best way to grow them is to plant seed in spring. South of Atlanta you can plant them in fall.
Since the flowers are short-lived, plant only one third of the seed packet at one time. Plant again in three weeks and again three weeks afterwards. You’ll get flowers for a good part of the summer. In a sunny spot love-in-a-mist will self-seed so vigorously it could be considered a weed.
Love-in-a-mist seed pods