Charming Forget-Me-Nots

Charming Forget-Me-Nots
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Charming Forget-Me-NotsWhen bees hum in the linden tree

and roses bloom in cottage plots.

Along the brookside banks we see

the blue wild forget-me-nots.

~Patience Strong~

Myosotis sylvatica, commonly known as the true forget-me-not, can be found growing wild in parts of North America, Europe and New Zealand. They are truly one of my favorite flowers in the wild. Small and dainty, they brighten the cool spring shade with tiny blue flowers and yellow centers. There are many varieties, including one that is an imposter. Today I have tidbits on all three.

As mentioned, M. sylvatica is considered the true-forget-me-not. It can be grown from seed or bought as a plant in the early spring.  The Victoria series is popular because it grows to only 6-8 inches, is hardy, reseeds, and comes in blue, pink or white. It's mentioned as being invasive, however, it can be pulled up from the soil easily and if deadheaded in the fall, it stays under control. It is hard to complain about such a lovely plant! This is available from Nature Hill's in the pink and blue variety of pink and blue variety of M. sylvatic seed

The seeds can be planted in fall or early spring. Try both! If they are allowed to self seed they will often have mixed colors. One warning, the seeds are rather "sticky" and will adhere to clothing and fur. This forget-me-not prefers partial shade, so they are easy to stick out of the way in the landscape. They do need soil that will stay fairly moist, so don't plant it with drought tolerant flowers.

The soil should be good and fertile--mix in compost. This Myosotis is a little odd in that some years it acts as an annual, some years a perennial, but if you leave seed on the plant to reseed each year, you'll always have them in your garden. You can also collect the seeds after the seedheads dry on the plant. Remove them and clean well, then store or sow.

This Myosotis is hardy to Zone 3, and will bloom during May and June. They work well beneath trees or shrubs, and can be pretty cut flowers for small vases. They will adapt to full sun IF kept moist. By July they usually die back and seeds should be collected by then.

The second forget-me-not is M. scorpiodes, the water forget-me-not. It's very low to the ground, blooms longer and is a perennial, but it needs to be kept moist. These are no doubt what we see at the stream's edge. They can be used as a ground cover in wet areas---perfect if you have an area that stays wet in the spring. This forget-me-not is perfect for a woodland garden area because they love shade. The plants spread by creeping and they are winter hardy to Zone 3 also.

M. scorpiodes will bloom from May to September and the bees, butterflies and moths favor it. The seeds can sown in the fall and need rich, moist soil. They can also be planted in the spring in the same type soil. This Myosotis doesn't need sun and will grow in full shade, plus it can tolerate clay and even a spot that remains soggy. Allow about ten inches between plants so they have room to grow.

Lastly we have Chinese forget-me-nots, Cynoglossum amabile, which in our imposter. These plants look just like Myosotis, and also come in blue, pink and white varieties. C. amabile is considered an annual, and is related to hound's tongue, a common plant in Europe. Sow the seeds directly into the ground in the spring, or start it indoors. It can be put out in late May into the garden. Chinese forget-me-nots also self sow, as long as the seed falls to the ground and isn't disturbed. Do deadhead or the bloom time will be fairly short.

This forget-me-not can grow in sun or light shade and can also be used as a cut flower. When sowing cover the seeds VERY lightly with peat or finer compost. Keep the seeds moist and between 60 and 70 degrees. The seeds do need light to germinate and it will take 2 weeks or longer to sprout. They need a well-drained soil, but it doesn't have to be as moist as the Myosotis varieties, and don't over fertilize.

C. amabile has the interesting little seeds that grab on to fabric and fur too, so be aware of this. Don't plant where your pets hang out to avoid having to pick them off by hand from their fur!

Forget-me-nots, regardless of which one you chose to grow, are charming old fashioned flowers and shouldn't be left out of our gardens. Try them in pots too or those damp, hard to landscape spots!



About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at


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