The lovely and understated forget-me-not flower is wonderfully easy to grow. These plants are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed and one that does well in several different types of climates around your yard. We have everything you need to know about Forget-me-nots – how to plant and care for, troubleshooting, and ways to use these flowers to create a carpet tapestry of blue.
Forget-Me-Nots an Early spring Garden Wonder
Forget-me-nots bloom long and robust during cool spring weather. However, they do not do well in exceptionally hot weather. In hot weather, the leaves will turn yellow, the flowers will be spindly, and they will ultimately die out.
When should you plant Forget-me-nots in your garden?
Forget-me-not, or Myosotis, is a simple little spring flower belonging to the Boraginaceae family that will bring waves of billowy soft color to your garden and borders. It’s a beautiful flowering plant to add to flower beds or complement taller early spring bulbs like daffodils and tulips. The flowers also make a lovely ground cover, especially in woodland gardens.
A packet of seeds is not at all expensive and can boost the color of your spring garden for a few pennies. In addition, they are a low-maintenance flower requiring very little help once established. Who can complain?
Direct Seeding: The Easiest Way to Plant Forget-Me-Nots
Mid-summer is the best time to plant forget-me-nots. Sowing your seeds mid to late summer means you will have flowers the following spring. Of course, you can also plant seeds out in spring, but you may not have flowers in the first season.
These plants can be grown as annuals or perennials, but they typically perform as biennials in most climates. Biennial means they flower and die in the following year after they were seeded. The second year is also the time they release their seeds. Once you have forget-me-nots established, there will no need to reseed as they will re-seed with gusto!
Starting Seedlings: How to Plant Forget-Me-Nots for Possible First-Year Blooms
To start seedlings for spring planting to get a possible first-year bloom, sow seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before your last spring frost date. Forget-me-nots need heat to germinate, so be sure to use a heat mat or a warm windowsill. Once seedlings are large enough to handle, prick out and pot up to a larger pot until it is time to plant out after the last danger of frost. Seeds take 8-14 days to germinate.
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Pick a partial shade area of your garden away from full sun to sow seeds. Forget-me-nots do not fare well in hot, dry spots and will struggle and die. A sunny east-facing wall or an area that receives partial sun or part shade during the day will also work for these pretty little flowers.
But if you give them good soil, with good drainage, and lots of organic matter in a shady spot, they will take off.
They do exceptionally well in woodland areas. So if you have a patch of partial shade woodland that receives at least a bit of light during the day, try growing some forget me not to make that space a bit more magical in spring.
They also grow exceptionally well around fabulous shady rock gardens, making them a perfect flower for an area that can be pretty challenging to fill with flowers.
Forget Me Nots love cooler climates, so you can find them in northern regions in areas like Canada, the East Coast of the USA, and the British Isles.
Three primary types of forget-me-nots have three very different preferences for growing. Be sure to start with the right seeds for the right area.
myosotis alpestris – The Alpine Forget-me-not
The Alpine Forget-Me-Not is a herbaceous perennial. It grows in open rocky places high in the mountains. The tiny flowers with bright yellow eyes bloom from mid to late summer.
myosotis sylvatica – The wood forget-me-not
The woodland Forget-Me-Not has small bright blue flowers. The bloom time is from late spring to early summer.
The wood Forget-Me-Not is the common garden flower we seed now in garden beds and borders.
In the wild, you can find these flowers in woodland areas and rock ledges.
These come in various colors: sky-blue, purple, lilac, and white flowers. The white-flowered Forget-Me-Not with yellow eye looks especially beautiful in a white nighttime garden—the white blooms glitter and glow under the moonlight.
The wood Forget-Me-Not is hardy to USDA zones 5-9.
myosotis scorpioides – True forget-me-not (also water forget me not)
Commonly called the water Forget-Me-Not, or true Forget-Me-Not is an aquatic perennial. Tiny Sky blue flowers with yellow centers bloom from spring through summer. This flower is native to moist meadows and stream banks and can grow in and around boggy areas.
Many regions of North America consider the forget-me-not an invasive plant. So be sure to check before you plant.
Soil & Moisture recommendations
Any well-drained, moist soil will work—chalk, clay, loam, or sand. Make sure plants receive at least 1 inch of water a week from rain or watering.
Forget-me-nots grow best in rich organic soil, so work compost into the ground at planting time. They do not require additional fertilizer. However, you can add a slow-acting general-purpose fertilizer in early spring.
Forget-me-nots do not air dry well. But you can preserve these beautiful flowers with silica gel. To dry in silica gel:
- Cut the flowers in full bloom, leaving a 1-2 inch long stem.
- Place flower cluster stem down in a sizeable sealable container partially filled with silica gel.
- Carefully sift silica gel over booms until they are completely covered.
- Leave in the container for two weeks and then carefully and gently remove the dried blooms from the silica gel.
- Gently use a soft paintbrush to remove gel grains off the flower petals.
Using Forget-me-not as cut flowers
Forget-Me-Not blooms make excellent cut flowers. They work as filler flowers or in miniature bouquets and nose-gays. Cut the flowers in the early morning and place them directly in the water.
Pests & diseases of the forget-me-not flower
Forget-Me-Not flowers tend to be hassle-free plants, but they can occasionally get diseases and pests. Generally, these pests and conditions do not extensively harm the flowers, but a few can cause damage.
Fungal infections are common problems in Forget-Me-Nots.
Powdery mildew, caused by the Oidium or Erysiphe fungi, creates a powdery-white coating on the leaves, stems, and blossoms. As a result, the leaves fall early from the plant, and buds and leaves are often curled and deformed.
Puccinia causes rust infections in forget-me-nots. Reddish spores appear on the stems or leaves. The infected area often turns yellow, and infected plants may be stunted.
Leaf spot, caused by Phoma or Cercospora fungi, creates dead or dying tissue areas on leaves.
To treat powdery mildew, rust infections, and leaf spot, add 2 1/4 tablespoons of sulfur to 1 gallon of water. Spray plants every 5-7 days. If it rains, apply again. Avoid using sulfur when temperatures are high (over 90 degrees F).
Downy mildew. Light pale green or red spots on upper leaf surfaces and furry gray moldy patches appear on the underside. Leaves eventually wilt and die.
Prevent infections by keeping plants dry and maintaining good air circulation between plants. If necessary, you can also use fungicides to prevent infections.
Potato flea beetles. Forget-Me-Not flowers with hundreds of tiny holes may be the victim of potato flea beetles. These shiny little pests are only 1/16 inch long and are very active. They do not usually cause severe damage to Forget-Me-Nots, but you can protect young plants by covering them with row covers until they are well established.
Snails and slugs, which are mollusks rather than insects, occasionally chew holes in Forget-Me-Not leaves. Handpick and remove snails from places where they can hide during the daylight hours, such as heavy ground cover, stones, and the lower sides of decks.
Aphids will cause distorted growth that can be curled or puckered. Leaves may turn yellow or brown. Light infestations of aphids can be controlled by a forceful spray of water every other day to knock the aphids off the plants. Ladybugs and lacewings usually provide control for these insect pests.
Forget-me-nots: the fuss-free flower you won’t regret adding to your garden.
I find it funny that the flower called “Forget-Me-Not” is one you can pretty much plant and forget. Forget-Me-Nots are not fussy, grow well, and re-plant all on their own. They rarely succumb to pests and diseases and reliably bloom every spring! Hopefully, you feel inspired by this Forget-Me-Nots how-to plant guide, and will have wonderful blue blooms in your garden next spring!
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