Damsel, Fanciullaccia - Nigella damascena


Nigella damascena, also commonly known as damsel or fanciullaccia, is an annual herbaceous plant native to central and southern Europe. It forms large groups of plants made up of rosettes of jagged leaves, of gray-green color, from which thin stems develop, to whose apex in spring and summer bloom decorative flowers with five sepals, blue, pink, white or lilac; at the center of the flower we can see the stamens gathered in a tube, of very dark color; after flowering large roundish capsules develop which contain numerous seeds. To prolong the flowering of the damsel it is advisable to remove the withered flowers, or to cut the stems that carry the capsules with the seeds, which are often used in dried flower compositions.


To obtain the best possible flowering, it is good to know that Nigella damascena plants prefer sunny or half-shade locations, where they can receive at least six hours a day of direct sunlight.
In summer it is appropriate to provide a correct shading if the fanciullaccia plants are placed in the sun during the hottest hours of the day.
These plants do not like the cold very much, so it is advisable to plant them from the end of April onwards, when the night temperatures are quite mild and there is no danger of late frosts.
If you intend to cultivate the damsel as a perennial plant, it is necessary to provide a correct protection for the winter season, better if the bridesmaid plants are sheltered in a protected place when the temperatures are lowered.


Nigella damascena plants can easily withstand short periods of drought, but it is good, especially in hot weather, to supply water regularly, always checking that water does not form and that they are very harmful to the roots of the young child. Every 15-20 days, add fertilizer for flowering plants to the irrigation water.


The Nigella damascena plants grow without problems in any soil, preferring however the loose, well-drained and rich in organic matter soils, able to provide all the nutrients necessary for the best development. When new specimens of this variety are planted, it is good to prepare a compound made of sand, peat and organic matter.


To obtain new specimens of this genus from April onwards, it is sown directly at home; since the flowering lasts only 1-2 months it is advisable to sow the nigelle two or three times after a few weeks, in order to have flowers for the whole spring and summer. If desired, they can be sown in February in seedbeds, paying close attention to the roots in the transplant phase, so as not to compromise the future development of the plant and keeping the new seedlings sheltered until the external temperatures are no longer mild.

Damsel, Fanciullaccia - Nigella damascena: Pests and diseases

often the buds of nigelle are infested with black aphids, which completely ruin them. For this reason, before the flowering phase it is possible to intervene with specific antiparasitic products that will help in countering the problem. It is also possible to use natural compounds based on nettle or garlic to be sprayed on the affected specimens.