By Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Yellow necklace pod is a handsome flowering plant that displays showy clusters of droopy, yellow blossoms. The blooms are located between the seeds, giving a necklace-like appearance. Learn more about this interesting plant here.
As Love-in-a-mist’s name implies, this old-fashioned garden annual has lovely flowers that appear to be encased in a delicate misty web of bracts. Nigella damascena is a reliable annual that’s on my must-grow list and should be on yours.
Please keep reading to learn why—and how—to grow this pretty cutting flower, which blooms in shades of blue, white, pink, and lavender.
Above: Photograph by Forest and Kim Starr via Flickr.
Native to rocky areas of North Africa and southern Europe, Nigella has a long season of interest. Let me explain: Not only is love-in-a mist absolutely easy to start by sowing seeds directly into the soil in the spring but also it rewards the garden during the cool months with interesting flowers to cut. And if you can resist the urge to harvest, you get quirky seed pods when summer starts heating up.
Above: For more Love-in-a-mist in this cottage garden, see Garden Visit: Honey Grove Cottage in the Firs, on Vancouver Island. Photograph by Sylvia Linsteadt.
Love-in-the-mist grows upright to heights of from one to two feet and produces flowers in cooling shades of white, blue, pink and purple. While I admire all the different varieties (more than 15 are widely available), my favorite is the traditional ‘Miss Jekyll Indigo’, with its rich blue blooms that float over the finely cut leaves.
Above: A packet of seeds of N. damascena ‘Persian Jewels Indigo’ is £1.95 from Chiltern Seeds.
Requires consistently moist soil do not let dry out between waterings
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)
Can be grown as an annual
Suitable for growing in containers
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
From herbaceous stem cuttings
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
Greenwell Springs, Louisiana
Winston Salem, North Carolina
On Jun 27, 2017, Edward_in_Oz from Sydney,
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:
Easiest plant, can take a bit of neglect in its stride. Grown outdoors here in Sydney Australia (cool subtropical winter with some heavy rain periods, hot dry summer intense sun with occasional heavy rain storms). I grow mine undercover but north facing so very bright indirect light, avoid summer sun. Water weekly in summer then gradually less until 4 weekly in the coldest months. Allow soil to dry between watering. Gradually increase watering in spring till weekly again. Though to be quite frank I can let it go for weeks without water in any season and it doesn't care. A little highly diluted fertilizer in spring. Best kept in hanging pots on its own, I've seen it get out of control in the ground!
On Mar 20, 2015, realityfaery from Delano, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
Last year my grandmother was thinning out her plant collection and gave me some of these in her pots. Not being too familiar with succulents I just treated it like my other plants. It took off! It even made its way into the neighboring flowerbed from its pot. Since moving I transplanted it into a hanging pot to get full view of it. It hangs 8' off the ground and its dangling about 4'. Every once and a while I clip it when its getting long and toss the pieces in the flowerbed below to let it establish itself there too. I'm highly impressed with this succulent. I've even started putting clippings in other hanging pots to get the same lovely cascade.
On Jan 17, 2015, anneberg1 from Saint Louis, MO wrote:
My Senecio radcans bananas are drying out near the soil. I tried to let the soil dry out in between watering and I also tried keeping the soil fairly moist. What should I do?
On Sep 30, 2013, JimiKrackKorn from Venice, CA wrote:
Does anyone know how long this plant will grow in a container? I keep having raise the pot I have mine in because it grows quicker than most succulents I own. When it was purchased in March, plant was about 12" and is now almost 14' . Its amazing.
On Feb 28, 2009, oddiebaby from Robbins, NC wrote:
Can I grow this in a container pot,it will be outside for the summers in N.C.?
Also,does it take the same care as string of pearls?Is it hardyer than string of pearls?
On Sep 22, 2008, tambo49 from Swannanoa, NC wrote:
I have a 6" pot of sting of bananas and I've enjoyed this plant so much. It is a BIG conversation plant for my area and very low maintenance. I have shared cuttings with several of my friends and that delights me as well as the plant. It loves to be shared!! Each time it is cut it grows 3-4 stems to replace the one I have removed! tambo49
On Apr 9, 2007, Kenotia from Bedford, TX wrote:
Easy to grow, and will put up with a lot. Smells slightly evergreen, and makes pleasant additions to hanging collection. Beware of putting this outside I've had birds strip the 'bananas' off an entire established plant in less than a week.
On Jun 7, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:
My plant has put up with a lot of abuse: mealy bugs, not watering enough, insecticide burn, not enough light, etc. but nothing really phases it.
String of bananas appreciate a "hair cut" once in a while.
Repotting is cumbersome because roots are shallow. You also have to hold the strings near the base of the plant which gets all the strings tangled together because of the beads.
On Aug 23, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:
'String of Bananas' - Very easy to grow, easily propagated from cuttings/seed. Looks like tiny green bananas with windows. White flower shown in detail photo. Less common than Senecio rowleyanus - String of Pearls
On Apr 5, 2003, ohmysweetpjs from Brookeville, MD wrote:
No care plant. I water about once a week. It roots very easily and the blooms are pretty though I understand that's not what the plant is grown for. I'm not very into foliage plants but this has got to be one of my favorites.
Took a stem cutting from a friend and started in water on west-facing windowsill. Roots sprouted after 3-4 weeks. Changed water once a week.
Grown as a houseplant, the String of Pearls seems to prefer the light exposure of a Western window. To propagate, take a strand of pearls and lay it on the soil, burying the lower section of the strand in the soil. Water very lightly until new growth appears.