The forget-me-not is a flowering plant from the genus Myosotis in the Boraginaceae family.
The colloquial name borrows from the original German name, Vergissmeinnicht, which translates to “forget-me-not.”
The tiny flowers are also prominent in literature. They appear in poems, epics, and novels from many famous authors such as Henry David Thoreau and J.R.R. Tolkien.
There are many varieties of the plant, but the most popular is the variety with bright blue flowers. Other varieties produce beautiful flowers in pink or white.
In this article, we take a look at everything you need to know to grow forget-me-nots.
Growing Conditions for Forget-Me-Not
Forget-me-not flowers grow in a wide range of habitats from sea level to about 4000m high.
However, most garden varieties come from the temperate woodlands and evergreen forests of the northern hemisphere. A popular example of such a variety is the Myosotis alpestris or alpine forget-me-not.
Common cultivars thrive within USDA zones 3 to 8. But the true forget-me-not is not as adapted to colder climates and does well between zones 5 and 9.
Other than the USDA zone, the following conditions will also affect the growth of your forget-me-nots:
- Light: Plant forget-me-nots in partial shade at the southern part of its range, and in full sun in Northern areas. In areas with hot summers, plant them where they will get ample sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
- Soil: The plants need moist rich soil with good drainage and plenty of organic matter. You can mix in about 2 to 3 inches of well-aged compost, manure, or peat moss before planting. Also, ensure that the soil has a pH between 5.6 and 7.
- Water: forget-me-nots need plenty of water, keep them well hydrated. They are typically found on river banks or near bodies of water in the wild and grow well in moist environments.
Types of Forget Me Not
There are two major types of forget-me-not. Both species look very similar but have slight differences in growing conditions and blooming times.
Here’s a table showing the differences between the two:
|USDA Plant Hardiness Zones||Zones 5 to 9||Zones 3 to 8|
|Height||6 to 12 inches||6 to 12 inches|
|Spread||9 to 12 inches||6 to 9 inches|
|Bloom Time||June to August||April to May|
|Bloom Description||Sky blue with a yellow center||Blue with yellow, or white eyes|
How to Plant Forget Me Not Flowers
Location is the number one factor that will determine the success of your flowers. Understand the natural habitats where these plants grow, so you can grow them in the right area.
Most Myosotis cultivars stem from either:
- True forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) – which are marsh or water-loving plants. They grow mainly in damp ditches and shallow watercourses. They are ideal for a shady spot in the garden and pond margins and will need full sun to partial shade.
- The woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) – also known as “blue ball.” It grows in damp woodlands and mountain grasslands and requires well-drained soil and partial shade.
How to Start Forget-Me-Nots
Surface sow your forget-me-not seeds from early spring on moist, well-drained seed starter. You can do this in seed trays or 2 to 3-inch small pots.
Maintain the trays at temperatures between 65 and 72℉. Check the growing media regularly for moisture content.
Germination usually occurs after about 10 to 14 days. After that, it takes about a year for forget-me-nots to grow to maturity and be able to flower.
Thin out the seedlings when they develop their first set of true leaves. Note that the first set of leaves they develop are “seed leaves.” Wait for the second set to appear, these will be the true leaves.
When the seedlings are large enough to handle and have a healthy root system, transplant the young plants to your flower beds.
Alternatively, you can sow the seeds directly in the garden. The best time to do this is once the danger of frost has passed.
To do this, rake the garden into fine tilth and sow the seeds in straight drills. This makes it a lot easier to identify and root out weeds.
Can Forget-Me-Nots Grow In Pots?
Forget-me-not flowers make excellent potted plants that need little care. You can grow them in containers provided you meet their growing conditions.
Also, the planters you choose will affect your flowers. For instance, plastic containers retain more moisture than ceramic or clay pots. This makes them a better option for moisture-loving plants like forget-me-nots.
The plants also need plenty of air circulation. Grow individual plants in 12-inch planters with enough drainage holes.
Forget-me-nots can tolerate moderate and even poorly fertile soil. But for best performance, mix 1 part compost and 1 part coarse sand when creating your potting mix. This will help improve drainage and nutrient content for your plants.
Taking Care of Forget Me Nots
Remove spent flowers and dead foliage by pinching them off at their stems. This will encourage new blooms to form and help control reseeding.
When they begin to wilt in late summer, remove the plants by pulling them up, stalk and roots. Forget-me-nots spread by both seeds and the stolons, which take root at leaf nodes. This could prove problematic because the plant is aggressive. It’s even considered an invasive species in some parts of the United States.
You can fertilize your forget-me-not plants once each month. But only if the leaves look yellow or wilted.
To do this, mix one teaspoon of 5-10-10 water-soluble fertilizer with one gallon of water. Use the mixture in place of one watering session, using the amount you would normally use to water your plants.
Water your forget-me-not plants when the top 3 inches of soil feels dry. You can check the moisture level by sticking a finger into the soil.
In order to achieve moist soil hydrate deeply enough for the water to drip from the container’s drainage holes. Reduce this schedule during the dormancy period in winter to once or twice per month.
Do Forget Me Nots Come Back Every Year?
The perennial variety of forget-me-not do come back in the spr. They reseed or sprout from underground roots to create new growth.
However, there are also biennial and annual plants and those varieties don’t come back every year.
How to Harvest Forget Me Not Seeds
When growing forget-me-nots, you’re likely not to have a lot of reason to collect the seeds. But in case you need to collect them, spread some newspapers underneath your plants when they begin to turn brown.
Once in place, pull up the stems and deposit them onto the newspapers. Shake the stems to get the flower heads to drop the shiny black seeds onto the newspapers.
Then, fold the newspapers and funnel the seeds into an appropriate container.
Forget-me-nots are a beautiful low maintenance flower, ideal for novice and expert gardeners. They are generally pest and disease resistant, thus easy to care for.
For more gardening tips, tricks, and how-tos visit Gardening Channel.
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Richard Ashley says
Are forget-me-nots tiny in Nepal?
Lyn Dunkerley says
Where can i buy forget me not seeds & a compressed tablet of soil. I am thinking of putting these together in a baggie to give out at the memorial service for our daughter who died of covid Dec 20. She was 46 & loved by many
April Samples says
They have them in the dollar section at Target right now with little pots as well!
Sorry to hear about your daughter.
I bought the same from Target but it’s so difficult to grow. First attempt, all dies becoz it’s too sunny. 2nd attempt, they grows taller with leaves and moved them away from direct sunlight but recently the leaves start to turn slightly black. Not sure what to do next.
I planted seeds from a packet provided by my vet in memory of my pet and the flowers bloomed. I’ve enjoyed watching them grow.
I’m sorry for your loss, this is a lovely way to honor your daughter’s memory
D Mac says
Successfully grew from seed. Then gently planted out into compost. And watered with a fertiliser. Two days later they were all brown and wilting?&