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How to Grow Migonette — Reseda

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Reseda–commonly called mignonette–is a sprawling annual usually grown for its spicy-sweet flower fragrance. Mignonette bears small greenish flowers often tinged with copper or yellow. The dense flower spikes become loose and open as they mature.

Reseda odorata is a good choice for borders where it can be planted in a mass to get the full effect of the fragrance. Mignonette can also be spotted around the garden for fragrance.

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Mignonette is best directly sown in the garden in spring. The plant does not transplant well. Mignonette grows best where summers are mild, not hot.

Mignonette flowers are borne on racemes

Get to know Reseda — Mignonette

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Growing zones and range: All zones; do not grow well in hot summer regions
  • Hardiness: Tender; killed by frost
  • Height and width: 12 to 18 inches (30-45cm) tall and wide
  • Foliage: Small, variably shaped entire or toothed, prominently veined mid-green leaves
  • Flowers: Dense spikes of star-shaped flowers that become loose and open when mature; each flower has six petals.
  • Flower colors: Greenish white tinged with copper or yellow
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Plant in masses for best effect, fragrance garden, suitable for pots
  • Common name: Mignonette
  • Botanical name: Reseda odorata
  • Family: Resedaceae
  • Origin: The Mediterranean and Southwest Asia

Where to plant Reseda — Mignonette

  • Grow mignonette in full sun in cool summer regions; grow in partial shade in hot climates.
  • Plant mignonette in humus-rich, well-drained soil; add aged compost to the planting bed ahead of planting.
  • Plant mignonette near walkways or patios where the fragrance can be enjoyed.

Reseda — Mignonette uses

  • Mass Reseda for a fragrant effect.
  • Plant Reseda in beds or borders near windows and doorways.
  • Interplant Resea with scentless plants.
Reseda alba bears white flowers
Reseda alba is a mignonette cultivar that bears white flowers

When to plant Reseda — Mignonette

  • Mignonette is a tender annual; sow seeds outdoors in late spring after all danger of frost has passed.
  • In mild winter climates, sow seeds in late fall or winter.
  • Seeds can be started indoors a few weeks before the last frost; however, mignonette does not transplant well and is best seeded where it will grow to maturity.
  • Transplant mignonette into the garden after the last frost when the weather is settled and warm.

Planting and spacing Reseda — Mignonette

  • Sow mignonette seed in evenly prepared planting beds; barely cover the seeds with soil.
  • Start seeds indoors in six-packs or flats; use a sterile potting medium or seed starting mix.
  • Sow seeds 1/8 inch deep; keep the soil just moist until seeds germinate.

How to water and feed Reseda — Mignonette

  • Mignonette prefers evenly moist soil
  • Fertilize mignonette with an all-purpose slow-release flower food at planting time; sprinkle a slow-release fertilizer around plants in midsummer.

Reseda — Mignonette care

  • Mulch around mignonette to conserve soil moisture.
  • Deadhead plants to encourage additional blooms.

Reseda — Mignonette pests and diseases

  • Reseda is seldom bothered by pests or diseases.

Reseda — Mignonette propagation

  • Seeds germinate in 2 to 3 weeks at 55°F (13°C).
  • Sow seeds indoors in late winter or in the garden in early spring or autumn.

Reseda — Mignonette varieties to grow

  • Reseda odorata, common mignonette. Grows 12 to 24 inches tall and 9 inches wide; erect, slightly spreading plant; elliptic to spoon-shaped leaves; star-shaped highly fragrant yellowish green or white flowers.
  • Some cultivars have longer flower spikes and brighter colors, but they will be less fragrant than the species, Reseda odorata.

Reseda frequently asked questions

Q: Where should I plant Reseda–mignonette?

A: Reseda is very fragrant in bloom. Plant this annual where the vanilla fragrance can be enjoyed–near a window or walk or next to a patio or deck.

Q: Can I start mignonette indoors?

A: Mignonette does not like being transplanted and is best started in the garden where you want it to grow. If you start mignonette indoors, sow seeds in individual pots. Do not cover the seeds; they need light to germinate.

Q: What growing conditions does Reseda prefer?

A: Reseda likes cool weather. You can plant them in early spring. Reseda will grow in full sun or light shade in soil that is moist and cool. In hot regions, grow Reseda in spring.

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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