Improvement status: Cultivated wild material
Seeds per packet: ~100
Germination tested 11/2021: 69%
Life cycle: Annual
Mignonette has a long history as garden plant, kept around mainly for its fabulous aroma. Believed to be native to Egypt, or elsewhere in the Mediterranian world, it was one of the flowers strewn in Ancient Egyptian tombs to provide a beautiful fragrance for the eternal rest of mummified people. Among wealthy Victorian-era Britons, it was fashionable to fill one's home with scent of fresh mignonette imported from the south of France during the winter. The smell of mignonette has been described as "ambrosial", reminiscent of violet, rose, and berries, but still unique. Though the plant is small and late to mature, the 3” yellowish-white flowering racemes are lit up with bright orange dangling anthers and the frenetic activity of bees and other pollinators.
According to our seed source, Wild Garden Seeds in Philomath, Oregon, this plant was introduced to France from Egypt by Napoleon himself, "perhaps to please his dearest Josephine, who named the plant in French, 'my favorite little one.'"
GROWING TIPS: Pinch tips when plants reach about 6" tall to encourage branching and fullness. It will continue in bloom in cooler summer areas until fall; afternoon shade is beneficial in hotter areas. Best sown in place, grows a bit like a weed, preferring semi-shade and moderately rich soil. Great for borders, and in companionship with other short plants, like schizanthus.