18 January 2015

Black Ammi - plant from seed

Carrots have many relatives in the Ammi plant family, with Queen Anne's Lace probably being the best known. My favorite is the Black Knight Ammi which has actually deep purple flowers. They grow to 5-feet tall in our perennial bed and usually have to be staked. It's a hardy annual that sometimes re-seeds a little in our zone 7.

Black Knight Ammi in our garden
It's amazing that I got a photo of it without a pollinator - bees, skippers and butterflies love the flowers.

Florists use a lot of Ammi as bouquet filler but mostly use the white and green varieties. This beauty, also called Black Knight Daucus carota var. sativus makes a wonderful cut flower.


At the end of the season I collect seed heads and put them into a container without a top. Over the winter, I remove more and more dead material so I'm left with seeds, small stems and some chaff. Eventually I end up with what you see in the CD container here.

Since they prefer 55-degrees for germination, the seeds can be sown outside in the fall and protected but it's easier for me to start them in the garden shed and plant out seedlings in the spring.

The seeds are small so don't need much soil on top of them so I put the seeds on top of the soil with some of the chaff and gently stir it around to get a little potting soil into the mix. Then, gently press them into the soil and water.

Black Ammi seedlings take patience - I planted the first set of seeds a month ago and the first true leaves are just now emerging.  There are 22 species of Daucus carota (all wild carrots are included) and I should probably branch out to see if I love the other 21 as much.

Where to find seeds
S G Seeds offers 100 for $5.92
Seedman offers 30 seeds for $2.25

Poison warning: Wild grown Queen Anne's Lace and deadly Hemlock flowers look a lot alike. The leaves of Queen Anne's Lace and of course the entire Hemlock plant are poisonous. I've made a lovely jelly of Queen Anne's Lace flowers - the process and final product are similar to rose hips jelly.

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