Slightly different to traditional Love in a Mist but every bit as beautiful, Nigella bucharica is a less well known botanical species of nigella, also known as 'Persian Love in a Mist, 'Blue Stars' and the ‘Emir of Buchara’.
Nigella bucharica have delicate five-pointed star shaped flowers of violet-blue, the flowers sit above fine feathery foliage. The wispy thin stems are deceivingly strong. They grow to a height of around 30cm (12in), are very easy to grow and flower freely.
This hardy annual can simply be sown directly where they are to grow, in spring or in autumn. It will flower the same year from June to August. The flowers will rebloom throughout the summer becoming overlaid with a flush of soft pink as they age.
Nigella bucharica is highly attractive to pollinating insects inducing bees and is well suited for traditional cottage garden settings, they make a superb filler for any little bare spots in the garden. They are excellent for planting in a meadow where the soil is a little on the dry side and not too rich.
Sowing: Sow direct in autumn or in late winter to spring.
Seeds can be sown in late winter to spring (March to May). An early autumn sowing can be made in sheltered areas for earlier flowers the following year. Planted it in the autumn it will send down a taproot and form a rosette of feathery leaves during the winter. As temperatures warm up in spring, flower stalks shoot up. If it's a dry spring, give it water and it will grow large and erect. Without water it tends to flop over.
The seeds are best sown in short drills 6mm (¼in) deep directly where they are to flower. Sow thinly, once temperatures reach around 18°C (68°F). They prefer a sunny open site but will grow in most sites and soils.
Prepare the ground well and rake to a fine tilth before sowing. Mark the sowing areas with a ring of light coloured sand and label if sowing more than one annual in the same bed. Sow 3mm (1/8in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart.
Seeds germinate in approx 21 days. The seedlings will appear in rows approx 6 to 8 weeks after planting and can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily. Thin the seedlings out so they are finally 23cm (9in) apart by early summer. Compost should be kept slightly moist, but not wet at all times.
Prefers well drained soil enriched with manure or compost ahead of planting. Can be grown on light sandy soils.
Feeding is rarely needed but water well and apply complete plant food as growth begins in the spring.
Deadhead to prolong flowering. Leave a few plants to die down and self seed. Others can be pulled up and composted
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower Arranging, Flowers Borders and Beds, Wildflower Gardens or Wildlife Gardens
The genus name is taken from the feminine of Latin nigellus, a derivative of Latin niger meaning black.
The species name ‘bucharica’ refer to the plants origin of the hot, dry mountain regions of Bukhara (also spelt Buchara or Bockhara), in central Uzbekistan in Russian Turkestan.
Also known as the 'Emir of Buchara' or 'Asian' or 'Persian Love-in-a-Mist'.
Emir (or sometimes spelled Amir) is a muslim title for 'prince.' It can also be used as a masculine first name.
The Last Emir of Bukhara:
Bukhara is the capital city of Uzbekistan in central Asia, one of the Turkic, Central Asian republics of the FSU.
The Last Emir of Bukhara, Seyed Mir Mohammed Alim Khan (1880-1944) was the last direct descendant of Genghis Khan to serve as a national ruler. [Painting above by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii 1911]
The Emirate of Bukhara was conquered by the Bolsheviks and replaced with the Bukharan People's Soviet Republic. With the establishment of Soviet power in Bukhara in 1920, the Emir fled to Afghanistan where he died in 1944.
Today the territory of the defunct emirate lies mostly in Uzbekistan, with parts in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Located along important trading routes, the city of Bukhara enjoyed a rich cultural mixture, including Uzbeks, Persian and Jewish influences. Bukhara has a rich history of Persian architecture and literature, traditions that were continued into the Emirate Period.
Today, the historic center of Bukhara, which contains numerous mosques and madrassas, has been listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 2.5gms Average Seed Count 3,000 seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 1,200/gm Family Ranunculaceae Genus Nigella Species bucharica Cultivar Emir of Buchara Common Name Persian Love in a Mist, Blue Stars, Emir of Buchara Other Common Names Asian Love in a Mist Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers Violet-blue Natural Flower Time June to August Foliage Mid Green Height 30cm (12in), Spread 20cm (8in) Position They prefer a sunny open site but will grow in most sites and soils. Aspect West or South facing. Exposed or Sheltered Time to Sow Sow direct in autumn or in late winter to spring