Position – Full sun
Soil – Well-drained
Flowering Period – Summer
Hardiness – Tender to hardy (dependent on variety)
Nigella are upright, bushy annuals with large solitary flowers with a glorious and intriguing centre in electrifying colours and multi-tonal shades, supported by long slender stems and bushy foliage during summer. These stunning blooms are often followed by ornamental seed pods. They are best suited to flower beds and borders within a courtyard, coastal and informal garden setting. Alternatively, they will make a fine addition to pots and containers. You should expect to see Nigella grow to an approximate height of 60cm (24”) and a spread of 30cm (12”).
Nigella are best planted in well-drained soil of loam, sand and chalk within a neutral or alkaline PH balance. Heavy soils can be amended with organic matter to improve drainage. Nigella are best positioned in a sheltered or exposed area of full sunlight. Dig a hole that is the same depth and twice the width of your plant, spreading the roots out before settling into place. Space companion plants 30cm (18”) apart to allow room for plants to spread as they mature and to create a striking, bushy effect. After planting, water thoroughly and deeply.
Water Nigella regularly during periods of drought and throughout active growth. Apply a feed once plants are a little more established and deadhead spent blooms to encourage a second flush of flowers during the season. If you do not wish for your plants to spread, collect seed pods before they disperse. Protect tender varieties and even those that are hardy from extremely cold conditions by transplanting them to an appropriate environment such as a conservatory or greenhouse.
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