Fumitory may be a plant that you have never heard of before now. It grows wild in gardens and corn fields in Europe. In the United States, it has naturalized itself in almost all states. When it comes to fumitory, it can be viewed as a weed due to its prolific reproduction through seed.
Having said that, fumitory is a beautiful annual plant that should be directly seeded into the ground during early spring. As long as the soil is well draining, fumitory will take hold in partial shade to full sun.
To begin the planting process, starts off with preparing the garden soil. An old flowerbed is the easiest by which to start planting. All you really need to do is to remove any unwanted plant materials, loosen up the soil, and smooth the area over. Next, pull out your ruler. Fumitory needs room to grow. The best approach is to mark off 10 segments in your garden where you want fumitory. Once that is done, plant your seeds two inches down in the marked locations and water.
Keep the soil evenly moist and in 20 to 30 days you will see little green dots of growth appear. This is your fumitory.
If you are starting with a space that has never been a garden, you will need to remove all unwanted plant material. To make sure that you have killed all unwanted plants and/or seed, consider covering with black plastic for about two weeks. After that time period has passed, continue with the planting process as described above.
Since fumitory can be invasive, you will need to harvest the spent flowers as soon as possible. Also, as you see additional fumitory seedlings breaking ground in the spring pluck them from the soil and either compost or plant elsewhere. Lastly, if you decide that you no longer want fumitory, do not turn the soil. If the soil is left undisturbed or reduced amounts of movement occur, the sun will kill the seeds that are on the soil’s surface. Mix or tilling the soil will bury the seeds, which will protect them from the sun.
Another interesting fact about fumitory is its ability to hide in other vegetation. What this means is that if you have several plants in your garden space close together, it can be hard to pick out the plant prior to it blooming. The reason for this is its wispy foliage, which gives root to one of its common names Earth Smoke.