For a unique Valentine’s Day gift for a gardener, consider seed packages of flowers that have romantic sounding names. Love in a mist, forget me not, heartsease and love lies bleeding are all easy to grow annuals that often self seed to come up following years. Here are the particulars of growing each.
Love lies bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus) is a very showy plant with gorgeous burgundy flowers that hang downward. Love lies bleeding prefers to be grown in full sun with plenty of room as each plant can get to between 3 and 5 feet tall and spread up to 2 feet wide. It blooms from mid summer to late fall and is a showstopper.
It is best to propagate from seed, with ideal germination temperature between 68 and 70 degrees. Plant early indoors as it takes about 2 weeks to germinate and a bother 8 -10 weeks before planting out into garden. It is quite sensitive to root crowding so you may need to pot up several times prior to moving it outside. The seeds are small and easily spread throughout the garden, coming up year after year though classified as an annual.
Love in a mist (Nigella damascena) prefers sun to partial shade and come sin shades of pink, white, blue and lavender, however, blue is the most readily available by seed. It has a long bloom period, from late spring into late fall. It forms beautiful seed pods that are as attractive as the flowers and can be dried. Love in a mist’s foliage is ferny and they make great cut flowers. They do best if direct seeded outdoors after last frost in an area of the garden that doesn’t stay wet. Just scatter seed and lightly rake in.
Johnny jump ups (Viola tricolor) doesn’t sound very romantic, but the Victorian era nickname of heartsease does. It received that name from Victorian times when each flower had its own hidden meaning. Heartsease bouquets were given to those who suffered from a broken heart, giving solace and hope.
Direct seed right into your garden or start indoors 8 – 10 weeks before final frost. Cover very lightly with soil and keep moist, when transplanting outside look for a location that has partial sun and the soil can remain moist – not soaking wet however. Deadheading will prolong the blooming period. Johnny jump ups spread easily by seed and take between 14 and 21 days to germinate.
Forget me nots (Myosotis sylvatica) grows between 12 and 24 inches and prefers to be in a shady to semi shady area. There are both annual and perennial forget me nots, however the annual forget me nots readily self sow. Sow seeds after all danger of frost is over. They prefer moist soil and require little upkeep.