Love-in-a-mist flowers bloom in spring and summer
image by aesop/Flickr.com
Love-in-a-mist are annual flowering plants that are native to Europe and prized for their ornamental value. Flowers bloom in spring and early summer, but love-in-a-mist cannot tolerate extreme heat. The plants are short-lived and reach maturity quickly, usually blooming within 6 weeks of planting. Love-in-a-mist flowers are most commonly blue, although some varieties may produce pink, white or pale purple blossoms. Seedpods are often harvested and dried for decorative purposes.
Choose a planting site with full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. Prepare the area by working in a 1-inch layer of organic compost with a garden tiller. Sow love-in-a-mist seeds directly in the garden where you want the plant to grow, as it does not transplant well.
Plant seeds in early spring about 1/8 inch deep and 2 to 3 inches apart. Germination will occur in 2 to 3 weeks. Thin love-in-a-mist plants to about 8 inches apart as soon as the seedlings are large enough to handle. Use a hoe to remove any unwanted seedlings.
Water love-in-a-mist immediately after planting, and then water lightly every 2 to 3 days until the seeds germinate. Once established, water plants once every 7 to 10 days or any time the top 2 inches of soil are dry to the touch. Water more often during dry periods or in extremely warm climates.
Remove spent flowers if you wish to prolong blooming. However, keep in mind that this will prevent love-in-a-mist from producing its decorative seedpods and returning the next season. Allow the plants to self-seed if you want them to emerge again the following spring. Seedpods may also be removed early to prevent self-seeding, if desired.
Pull up and discard the entire plant when it becomes unattractive. Love-in-a-mist plants grow and bloom quickly, and will typically die back before the heat of summer, leaving yellowed and dying foliage behind. The plants can be allowed to die completely in the garden or removed to improve appearance.