Forget-Me-Not Control: How To Manage Forget-Me-Nots In The Garden

Forget-me-nots are pretty little plants, but beware. This innocent-looking little plant has the potential to overcome other plants in your garden and threaten native plants beyond your fences. Once it escapes its boundaries, controlling forget-me-not plants can become a major challenge. Forget-me-nots grow like wildfire in shady, moist areas, fields, meadows, woodlands and coastal forests.

Is Forget-Me-Not Invasive?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Forget-me-not is native to Africa and was introduced to American gardens for its beauty and simplicity. However, like many introduced species (also known as exotic plants), forget-me-nots lack natural checks and balances, including diseases and pests that keep native plants in their place. Without natural biological controls, the plants are likely to become troublesome and unforgettable – forget-me-not weeds.

In severe cases, invasive plants can out-compete naturally native growth and disrupt a healthy biodiversity. Forget-me-not is on the invasive plant list in several states.

How to Manage Forget-Me-Nots

Forget-me-not control may be necessary to keep the plant in check. Forget-me-nots are easy to pull, or you can remove them by hoeing or cultivating the soil. This is a good way to control small numbers of forget-me-nots. However, the plants will soon resprout if you don’t remove every bit of the roots.

Be sure to pull or hoe the plants before they go to seed, as forget-me-nots spread by seeds and by strawberry-like stolons that root at the leaf nodes.

Herbicides should always be a last resort for home gardeners, but chemical control may be needed if forget-me-not weeds are badly out of control or if the weed patch is large.

Products containing Glyphosate may be effective against forget-me-nots. Read the label carefully and use the product strictly according to manufacturer recommendations. Although Glyphosate is widely used and tends to be somewhat safer than many other herbicides, it is still highly toxic. Be sure to store Glyphosate and all chemicals safely out of reach of pets and children.

Forget-Me-Not

Forget-Me-Not

The dainty blue flowers of forget-me-nots signal spring and are sure to put a smile on your face. Forget-me-nots most commonly bloom in a beautiful, clear, sky-blue shade. Forget-me-nots make a great addition to garden borders and mixed containers because of their spring-to-summer bloom time.

genus name
  • Myosotis
light
  • Part Sun,
  • Sun
plant type
  • Perennial
height
  • Under 6 inches,
  • 6 to 12 inches
width
  • 8 to 12 inches
flower color
  • Blue,
  • White,
  • Pink,
  • Yellow
foliage color
  • Blue/Green
season features
  • Spring Bloom,
  • Summer Bloom
problem solvers
  • Groundcover,
  • Drought Tolerant,
  • Slope/Erosion Control
zones
  • 3,
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7,
  • 8
propagation
  • Division,
  • Seed

Garden Plans For Forget-Me-Not

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Colorful Combinations

Forget-me-nots are one of the few plants that can boast a true blue color. But the adorable and prolific blooms also come in light pink and even a clean white, and yellow centers brighten every shade. The curving stalks supporting the blooms give forget-me-nots one of their common names: scorpion grasses. The flowers emerge in early to late spring and continue until summer heat slows the plants down. Forget-me-nots look sweet with a number of different plants: See companion planting tips.

Forget-Me-Not Care Must-Knows

Forget-me-nots are easy-to-grow plants, requiring little maintenance. Commonly grown from seed, forget-me-nots are often treated as biennals or short-lived perennials. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden in the fall for early-spring blooms. The self-sowers may become invasive unless spread is controlled by deadheading. Forget-me-nots form dense mats of foliage by producing above-ground runners. The foliage is deer resistant and said to resemble mouse ears.

One of the biggest killers of forget-me-nots is summer heat and humidity. In the South especially, summers tend to kill off these charming plants. In this case, treat forget-me-nots as cool-season annuals or look for heat-tolerant varieties and species. Forget-me-nots prefer full sun, but where the summers are hot, they are grateful for afternoon shade. Forget-me-nots also prefer consistently moist soil. Some species can actually grow in standing water and perform well as marginal water plants.

See which plants pair well with forget-me-not.

Forget-Me-Not Through the Ages

As you would imagine, this plant has many historical references and meanings tied closely to its name. Forget-me-not was commonly grown in gardens to remember lost loved ones. Other times, people would wear sprays of these delicate blossoms as a sign of their faithfulness to a loved one. The flower has also been taken as a sign of remembrance for the many lost in wars and other significant events.

More Varieties of Forget-Me-Not

Woodland Forget-Me-Not

Myosotis sylvatica blooms with clusters of fragrant, clear blue or white flowers with yellow eyes in early spring. Its hairy leaves may reach 4 inches long. Zones 5-9

‘Victoria Rose’ Forget-Me-Not

Myosotis sylvatica ‘Victoria Rose’ blooms earlier than some other varieties with small yellow-eyed pink flowers over 4-inch plants. Zones 5-9

Plant Forget-Me-Not With:

Wild ginger is a workhorse of a groundcover, spreading readily with beautifully glossy, slightly heart-shape leaves. It must have shade and moist but well-drained soil to thrive, but with the right conditions this native plant is indispensable, doing well where many other plants wouldn’t. In spring it bears purplish-maroon bell-shape blooms mostly hidden in the foliage.

Perfect for cottage and woodland gardens, old-fashioned columbines are available in almost every color of the rainbow. The intricate little flowers look almost like folded paper lanterns and come in a combination of red, peach, and yellow but also blues, whites, pure yellows, and pinks. Columbine thrives in sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. Plants tend to be short-lived but self-seed readily, often creating natural hybrids with other nearby columbines. If you want to prevent self-seeding, deadhead plants after bloom.

It’s easy to see the origin of bleeding heart’s common name when you get a look at its heart-shape pink or white blooms. They grow best in partial to full shade in moist, well-drained soil. Some types bloom only in spring, and others bloom spring, summer, and fall provided temperatures aren’t too high.

It’s hard to find bright color for shade, so it’s puzzling why brightly colored corydalis isn’t more widely planted. It’s an outstanding shade plant. Blooms are small but they appear in clusters. Leaves look similar to those of fringe-leaf bleeding heart. Plants self-seed readily, but excess seedlings are easy to remove. Provide the plant with moist, organic soil for best growth.

Last month, we told you not to plant the wildflower seeds that Cheerios is giving away to help “bring back the bees,” because they seemed to include invasive species that could harm your local environment. Soon afterward, I received some emails about those seeds that pulled me into a much deeper story.

In short, the problem with the Cheerios seed mix is that, no matter where you are, some of the flowers in the mix will be less than ideal for your area. The California poppy, for example, is great in California, but a noxious weed in the southeast. One of the plants, listed as forget-me-not, appeared to be a species that is banned in two states. If you’re going to ask people to plant flowers to help the environment, why wouldn’t you send them flowers that are friendly to their local environment?

It turns out I had one fact wrong in my post. I learned about the error through an email from Lance Bentley of the Bentley Seed Company. “My company is the packager of this promotion,” he said, and he claimed they did not include any of the invasive forget-me-not.

It turns out there were several seed companies involved in putting together this promotional seed packet. Cheerios advertised that they were partnering with Vesey’s, another large seed distributor, but Vesey’s got the packets from Bentley’s, and Bentley’s used another company’s seeds to fill their packets. Lance Bentley wrote that he had a confidentiality agreement with the seed supplier whose name he could not reveal, but that they were “the most reputable wildflower seed grower in the United States.” The mix was formulated there, he said, by “a woman with an advanced degree in ecology” and he assured me that neither Bentley’s nor the mystery supplier would ever knowingly send out a harmful species.

Screenshot from Cheerios’ Canadian website, March 2017. (Cheerios confirmed that the same mix was sent to both Canada and the US, but the US website did not give a list of species.) Advertisement

So how had forget-me-not gotten onto the list of wildflowers on Cheerios’ website in the first place? That list, above, included both the (relatively harmless) Chinese forget-me-not, and then the regular forget-me-not further down on the list. At first, Bentley thought I had confused the Chinese with the other species, but then I pointed out that both were listed. A few emails later, he said he had confirmed that the addition of the second forget-me-not was “a typo” on his supplier’s end. But no, he could not tell me who that supplier was.

I posted a correction to my article, stating that I’d been informed forget-me-nots were not, in fact, in the packet, and got back in touch with Kathryn Turner, the invasive plant expert who had explained the problems with the seed mix when I was first writing the piece. This time I asked her if the mix was still problematic even without the invasive forget-me-not. Here’s what she said:

I still think it’s not a great thing to send non-native seeds all around the country. True forget-me-not was the worst , for sure, but there are still non-natives and California poppy is weedy in the southeast. To be honest, it’s probably impossible to come up with a single set of plants that would even do well themselves all across the US, even if they were all from somewhere in North America. So why not have 5 or so region-specific ones? Xerces.org already does that.

The funny thing is, Cheerios was working with Xerces, a wildlife conservation nonprofit, on another project—to plant native wildflowers near their oat farms. Why not use Xerces’ preferred flowers for the seed packet promotion? I had called a Cheerios spokesperson when I was doing my original research for the piece, but he declined to tell me anything about the species they were including or why they chose this particular mix.

But maybe he could help me understand how the wrong forget-me-not appeared on Cheerios’ list. I wrote back to him, and in three emails that day he said he was “looking into this,” was “still gathering information,” and that he would get back to me the next day. Call it a hunch, but I think Cheerios didn’t know about the error until I told them. In the end, the spokesperson didn’t have an explanation for me. He just wrote that they would update the website, because they had “inadvertently listed Forget-Me-Nots twice.”

What Was Cheerios Thinking?

My article about Cheerios’ wildflower seed project got 2.7 million page views, more than anything I’d ever written. The day it was published was Lifehacker’s highest traffic day ever. I got an email from our CEO congratulating me on it.

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After a few days, articles started popping up around the internet about the “backlash” against Cheerios. The articles all cited my post, and many reached out to Cheerios for comment. So I don’t think I’m out of line in suggesting that maybe, just maybe, this issue was on Cheerios’ radar.

And yet they never contacted me about it. Lance Bentley, the seed packager, cared about correcting the record and wanted to protect his reputation and that of his supplier. Cheerios seemed not to care.

I peeked at Cheerios’ Facebook page and looked at the replies to their promoted tweets about the wildflower giveaway. Plenty of folks were pointing out that the seeds were non-native and possibly invasive. A lot of them linked my article. And some poor intern must have been given the job of copy-pasting the same boring response to all of them. It was, in fact, the same response I had gotten when I initially asked Cheerios about their seed mix. And it was not helpful at all.

Cheerios’ typical response.

While I was rolling my eyes at Cheerios’ tone deaf response, public relations news site PR Daily was praising it. Alex Slater, himself a director of a PR firm, wrote:

“In response to mounting pressure from both digital outlets and individuals on social media, General Mills focused its response on Facebook and Twitter audiences. The company developed a set of three slight variations of reactive messages designed to address concerns and discourage further interrogation.”

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It is “needless escalation,” he says, to try to work with reporters to clear up misinformation. Better to work up a statement that “blend technical language with sympathetic concern” without addressing the article’s substance, and paste it again and again until the whole thing blows over.

Somebody Cares

Not everybody took this approach, though. Diane Wilson sure didn’t.

I don’t know who Diane really is, although I have a guess. She emailed me shortly after Lance Bentley did, and demanded a correction (even though I had just made one) for saying that the seed mix included invasive forget-me-nots. “It is with considerable alarm that I have seen the damage you have done with the posting about the bee mix Cheerios is giving out,” she wrote. Of the forget-me-not she stated plainly: “That species was not the one in the mix.”

Part of the first email I received from Diane Wilson.

How could she know? I wondered if she worked for the nameless seed company. I tried googling, but even if that was her real name, there are 1,692 Diane Wilsons in the US. Her name turned up on a seed company website, but there was no way to be sure I had the right person. I wrote back and asked her if she had more information to share with me.

She dodged the question. “My point was, too many people make assumptions about common plant names. You need to get the scientific name to know for sure what you have…I’m a botanist, and so this is an important point to make.”

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I asked her point blank: were you involved in making the seed mix? She dodged again: “When I see a red flag, I research it. It’s a simple deduction.”

I tried one last time: “To be totally clear, are you saying you were not involved with this particular seed mix?”

I never heard from her again.

I even wrote back offering to let her talk on background, guessing that she might not want her employer to know she was reaching out to me. I gave her my cell number. I offered to talk privately on Whatsapp or Signal. No dice.

Meanwhile, a few other, familiar sounding messages trickled in. Some anonymous comments on my article included talking points similar to Diane’s. So did an email that my source Kathryn Turner received, signed “A Concerned Citizen.” Cheerios may not have cared about bad press, but somebody—or several somebodies—did.

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It seemed I was at a dead end. Cheerios wouldn’t tell me why they sent out these seeds rather than natives, and they either couldn’t explain, or didn’t care, why forget-me-not snuck onto the list. Diane didn’t look like she was going to call me, and I had no way to confirm who the upstream seed supplier was. I could call Vesey’s, the seed company whose name was on Cheerios’ promotional seed packets, but I now knew they were just a middleman. There was only one other player in this drama who might talk to me: Xerces.

Behind the Scenes With Cheerios and Xerces

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation has a sterling reputation. The ecologists and entomologists I spoke to praised the work Xerces does for bees and butterflies, helping everyone from mega-corporate farms to backyard gardeners to do their part to conserve this tiny type of wildlife. They advocate for threatened species, publish conservation guides for gardeners and farmers, and coordinate citizen science programs.

Cheerios quotes Xerces experts and touts their contributions to Xerces on their webpage explaining why “we need the bees,” so I had questions. Were the people at Xerces okay with the seed mix, or did Cheerios do the seed promotion without asking their advice?

“This a learning moment for Cheerios and General Mills,” Scott Black, executive director of Xerces, told me on the phone. Unlike Cheerios or Diane Wilson, Black was happy to talk at length. We had a pleasant, meandering chat—did you know the largest known pollinator is a lemur in Madagascar that gets pollen on its face when it licks the nectar out of flowers?

Xerces had been working with Cheerios’ parent company for years before the ill-fated seed giveaway. “General Mills was quite an early adopter in thinking about pollinator conservation in their supply chain,” Black said. The company approached Xerces in 2010 asking how they could do a better job, and ended up giving the nonprofit millions of dollars: some to fund research on pollinators, and some to create pollinator habitat on the farms that supply produce to their organic brands Muir Glen and Cascadian Farm. The fields that supply oats for Cheerios will soon employ these responsible farming practices as well.

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The farmers’ participation is voluntary, so Xerces approaches them and offers to plant wildflowers near their fields—native ones, of course. They also help the farmers find ways to reduce their pesticide use. That’s because the chemicals that kill insects on crops can also be toxic to bees and butterflies, especially if they are the persistent, systemic types like neonicotinoids. These get into every part of the plant, including the nectar and pollen, and they can persist in the environment for years. They don’t just enter the environment from farms, either, but from gardens and backyards and parks as well.

The packet from a seed giveaway that had Xerces’ blessing.

When Cheerios mentioned that they were thinking of doing a seed giveaway, the folks at Xerces gave them an idea. “We recommended—well, recommend is a strong word. In a conversation some months ago, we suggested organic sunflower seeds,” Black said. Aveda, maker of beauty products, had taken this advice and used sunflowers for a similar promotion in the past.

The beauty of sunflowers, Black said, is that they are easy to grow and stand out in the garden. Wildflower mixes, native or not, often take weeks to sprout and people don’t always plant them properly; they tend to scatter the seeds and hope for the best. With a sunflower, though, you can help your kid poke a big seed into a bit of warm dirt in the garden. It will sprout shortly afterward, and tower over the child by the end of the summer.

“You don’t have to be a gardener to get to establish. They’re big, they’re exciting for kids.” And they definitely feed pollinators. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sunflower in bloom without bees and butterflies visiting.”

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Sunflowers only bloom during one part of the summer, so they don’t provide a year-round buffet for the bees like a wildflower mix would. Black echoed the same thing I kept hearing from ecologists and entomologists: if you want to create a truly effective, eco-friendly habitat for bees, it’s best to plant natives. That said, he understood that gardens and backyards are “somewhat of a human construct.” He has roses and tomatoes in his own yard, for example. If you choose your plants with care, it’s not like non-natives are a terrible thing; but a company giving away “wildflowers” can certainly do better.

Even if Cheerios’ seed giveaway was a tone-deaf PR stunt, Xerces is happy to use it as a conversation starter. “People are asking us about it,” he said. “This story has allowed Xerces to talk about what’s really important.” That includes planting native flowers that bloom at different times during the season, and reconsidering how you use pesticides in your yard. And he emphasizes that people can help at any level: you can plant a garden in your postage stamp city yard, or you can write to whoever manages your nearest park and ask them to use less of the most toxic pesticides.

A Shot in the Dark Reopens a Cold Case

At this point, I was ready to file my story, and only a little disappointed. I had found out what Xerces really recommended to Cheerios: the opposite of what they did. And I had heard both sides’ arguments on whether a wildflower seed packet, minus forget-me-nots, could really be harmful. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the mysterious seed supplier. Why had they listed an invasive weed on their packaging?

I went back to Lance Bentley’s emails, one of which had a photo of what he called a “published” description of the mix. It was called “Bee Feed Mixture”, product code “BEEF.” Googling those words pulls up a bunch of seed sellers, all advertising more or less the same mix. Some list forget-me-not, others don’t. One of those sellers is Colorado-based Applewood Seed Company. I had become a little bit obsessed with Applewood, actually, because one of their employees shares a first and last name with my now-missing pal Diane.

The published description of the wildflower mixture Cheerios used.

This was all circumstantial evidence, and it was totally possible that Applewood was not the seed supplier I was looking for. But even if they weren’t, they still might be able to help me understand how seed mixes like this are formulated. I carefully composed an email to their sales team, trying to sound innocent:

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Hi,

I noticed that there is a “forget-me-not” listed in the Bee Feed Mixture on this page (in addition to the “Chinese forget-me-not”). Is this the invasive true forget-me-not, or a different species?

I’ve seen similar mixtures elsewhere that don’t include the forget-me-not, so I’m just curious. Was this mixture developed at Applewood or somewhere else?

Thanks,

Beth

The response arrived swiftly. It was signed Norm Poppe, general manager, and it began: “I recognize your name from emails that have been circulating around the flower seed industry in regard to your misrepresentation of Forget Me Not in the seed trade as Myosotis scorpoides.”

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A Case of Mistaken Identity

Left: Myosotis scorpioides, invasive weed. Right: Myosotis sylvatica, seed industry standard. Images fromIvar LeidusandAka.

HOLY CRAP. I had a live one. I was jumping with joy because a few sentences down, the email answered the forget-me-not conundrum. But I was also trembling with nervousness, because I might be able to get more information out of this guy if I was careful with my next move. So, in total, sort of vibrating with excitement.

Rather than blow my move on another email, I took a deep breath and picked up the phone. “Can I speak with Norm Poppe, please? We’ve been emailing and I just want to clarify something.” Soon I was on the line with the disgruntled manager himself. I said that I still had some questions and ultimately just wanted to get the story right.

“The story should be that there is no story,” he snapped. “Everything that’s been represented is overblown or isn’t true in the first place.”

He had been hearing about the Cheerios seeds not just all over the internet, but “three or four times” on his local news, and he had just heard that the story made it to the London Times. He objected to the assertion that the mix contained invasive species, an idea he called “completely ridiculous.”

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He was thinking, specifically, of that forget-me-not. As Diane and her camp had reminded me, over 20 plants share that name. Using the scientific name was the only way to be sure you knew which one you were talking about. Out of all those plants, Norm Poppe asked me, why did I pick the one that was the most problematic?

When Kathryn Turner, the invasive plant expert, had seen the name without an adjective, she figured the seed was probably Myosotis scorpioides, the infamously invasive “true forget-me-not.” That seemed like a reasonable assumption to me, since the rest tended to have adjectives in front, like “broadleaf forget-me-not” or “Asian forget-me-not.” Remember, I had asked Cheerios about the species but they didn’t give me a useful answer.

Perhaps I should have pressed them harder. Poppe felt that failing to confirm the scientific name was “not very good journalism.”

In the seed trade, he told me, “forget-me-not” with no modifier indicates a different species, Myosotis sylvatica. (This one appears in the USDA’s database as “woodland forget-me-not.”) It’s not recognized as noxious or invasive. Applewood designed the mix to include it, but it didn’t end up in the Cheerios packets. “We do reserve the right to change mix formulations due to consequences of seed shortages and other unforeseen circumstances,” he had written in the email. Forget-me-nots had been unavailable for the last few months. Someone at Cheerios must have seen the list of what was intended to go in, but didn’t know—or didn’t care—that the seeds in the packet were something different.

What Happens When You Get Your Hands Dirty?

I got another email from Norm the next day. He had been thinking about my question, about what the real story is here. He thought I should write about whether a seed packet can change the world.

What can a packet of flower seed accomplish? Well, it might get a family involved in home gardening so that the parents could teach their children or in some cases grandchildren about the relationships between plants and insects and the food that we eat. It would certainly get the children outside so they could gain some understanding that you need to plant the seeds carefully, water them, and take care of them so they will grow. When the insects arrive to seek the nectar or pollen that will be present, there could be a discussion about how insects are a very important part of a natural ecosystem and without honey bees and other insects, most of the food that we like to eat would not be available.

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Hmm, that’s the same thing the Xerces director said about planting sunflowers. I had also asked bee researcher Jeremy Hemberger what he thought of Cheerios’ intentions. “There are really no downsides to convincing people to get their hands dirty,” he said, but anybody who is trying to raise awareness should give people “the best information and resources possible” to pick the right plants and to avoid the most harmful pesticides. (He also threw in a plug for Bumble Bee Watch, where you can upload pictures of bees from your garden. Experts will tell you exactly what kind of bee you’ve found, and then include it in their studies of bee populations.)

This story took weeks to unfold, and during that time, spring happened. My four-year-old son noticed the dandelions in our yard, and since he’s now big enough to unlock the door by himself, he likes to run outside and pick the “pretty flowers” for me. I had never thought much about dandelions before, but now I was curious how they fit into our local ecosystem. It turns out dandelions aren’t native to our area, but they’re here to stay and they’re an important source of nectar for pollinators in the early spring.

What else had I learned over these past few weeks? Well, I learned that Cheerios didn’t include the infamous true forget-me-not in its seed mix—although they probably didn’t know that until I pointed it out. From my perspective, it seems they were more concerned with keeping their #bringbackthebees hashtag trending than with correcting the record.

I also learned that it’s even more important than I realized to get the scientific name right, because common names can mean different things in different specialties. Norm Poppe said he had never heard of Myosotis scorpioides until just now; it’s just not a thing in the seed industry. Meanwhile, it’s infamous to people who study invasive plants.

We never did learn who Diane was. “I’m a little disappointed she didn’t meet you at a highway rest stop in a trench coat and fedora,” my editor said.

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And all along, everybody had the same goal, more or less: to get people to think about bees, and to learn how a few backyard flowers can connect us to the planet we all share. While Cheerios was rolling out their promotion, the rusty-patched bumble bee became just the eighth of our several thousand species of native bees to be recognized on the endangered species list. It used to live in my area, but according to recent research I would have to drive hundreds of miles if I wanted to see one. The decline is due to a combination of habitat loss, pesticide use, competition from honey bees, and climate change.

I’m cynical about corporate ad campaigns, and Cheerios certainly could have executed this more thoughtfully. But they did get people thinking about pollinators, and if the people who requested seed packets manage to get their seeds to sprout, the resulting flowers will feed bees without ruining the environment too much.

And maybe some of those folks will do a little further reading, and consider planting something else instead. I took my son to the garden store the other day, and they had a big display of wildflower seeds. I read the species list and said no thanks. Meanwhile, an ad for Seedles “seed bombs” popped up in my browser recently, and it turns out their wildflowers come in six different region-appropriate mixes of native species. I ended up buying my son a packet of organic sunflower seeds—which happen to be a domestic variety of a plant that is native to our area. He can’t wait until the weather gets warm enough to plant them.

Chinese Forget Me Not Seeds – Cynoglossum Amabile Flower Seed

Chinese Forget-Me-Not (Cynoglossum Amabile) – Sow some Cynoglossum Amabile seeds and enjoy this cheery little wild flower in your garden. Chinese Forget Me Nots have indigo-blue flower clusters on top of very erect stems and offer a nice contrast with the dark green leaves. This annual wild flower seed will grow quickly and bloom heavily. Chinese Forget-Me-Not plants will grow in sun or light shade in all regions of North America.

Cynoglossum Amabile seeds germinate best if they are evenly spread into loosened bare ground and kept moist. Plant Chinese Forget Me Not seeds in fall where winters are mild (seldom dipping below 10 degrees) or sow the flower seeds in early spring in colder climates after frost season has passed and night time temperatures are starting to stay warm. Cover the flower seeds lightly with a quarter inch or less of good, quality of soil, and keep the wild flower seeds moist.

Before long you will have a beautiful display of wildflowers. Chinese Forget-Me-Nots are liberal self-sowers. They will drop their own flower seeds and be back the following spring. If self-seeding is not wanted, cut back the plants to the ground after flowering or tear the plants out.

Chinese Forget Me Not Seeds

Sowing: Direct sow Chinese Forget-Me-Not seeds in early spring after the last frost. Sow 1/4″ below the surface and keep the soil consistently moist until germination, which should occur in 7-10 days. Cynoglossum amabile can be fall planted in regions with warm winters. To start the seed indoors, plant it in a flat or individual peat pots 6-8 weeks before the last frost of spring. Keep the soil consistently moist and at a temperature of 70 degrees F until germination. Transplant after the last frost.

Growing: Water the seedlings during their first few weeks of growth. Mature plants tolerate dry soil quite well, and will only need occasional watering in drought conditions; they may flop over in rich or moist soil. These plants will readily reseed themselves, and can spread in good growing conditions. If this is undesirable, cut the plant back after the blossoms fade to prevent the seed heads from forming. This plant attracts bees and butterflies.

Harvesting: For fresh flowers, cut the stems near the ground and place them in water immediately; strip the leaves that will fall below the water.

Seed Saving: After flowering, this plant will produce clusters of sticky seeds that turn from reddish green to their ripe brown color. Strip them from the stems, and spread them out to dry away from direct sunlight. Separate the Chinese Forget-Me-Not seeds from the debris and store the cleaned seeds in a cool, dry place.

Remember to sow your Chinese forget-me-not

Cynoglossum amabile, or Chinese forget-me-not is an upright, bushy annual, producing a multitude of little blue flowers from mid to late summer. It grows best in less fertile soil and is idea for sunny mixed borders.

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Horticulturist Jamie Butterworth happened to pick the plant out back in our January issue as one of his favourite choices for 2019.

“Once seen Chinese forget-me-not is a plant you will remember. Delightful blue flowers add a zing to planting through summer. Could this be the next star of Chelsea? Ideal as a cut flower, or as an annual to spice up border. I like to mix it with a fiery geum for a dazzling display,” Jamie wrote.

Here’s how to plant your seeds
Indoors February to April: Sow thinly, cover with 5mm of compost. Firm gently and keep moist. Cover with glass, polythene or propagator lid and keep at 15-20°C. Seedlings appear in 14-28 days. Remove cover and when large enough to handle, transplant 5cm apart in trays. Harden off by standing outside for a few days from late May (avoid frosts). Transplant 25cm apart in flowering position.

Outdoors April to May: Sow thinly in rows 20cm apart. Cover with 5mm of fine soil. Firm gently and keep moist. Thin to 25cm apart.

Flowers June to October. Deadhead to prolong flowering and stop sticky seeds from becoming a nuisance.
Height 45cm Spread 30cm.

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• Illustration by Vicki Turner

Chinese Forget-Me-Not, Hound’s Tongue

Chinese forget-me-not, also called hound’s tongue, is of special value for the clear, sky-blue color of the flowers. They bloom all summer, and are especially good in cool climates. The Chinese in its common name comes from its origin in Asia, although it also resembles the true forget-me-not (Myosotis). “Hound’s tongue” refers to its leaves, which have a furry surface and are shaped like a dog’s tongue.

: Chinese forget-me-not is a biennial most often grown as an annual. The plants grow to 2 feet tall with flowers appearing as sprays above the plant. The foliage is gray-green. There are also pink and white forms that are not widely available.

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: Grow in full sun or partial shade in a rich, well-drained soil, high in organic matter. Except in regions with cool summers, they are more successful in full sun if the soil is kept evenly moist, but not soggy. Feed lightly or mix a slow-release fertilizer into the soil before planting. They may be planted outdoors in spring as soon as the soil is workable. Space 8 to 12 inches apart.

: By seed. Sow outdoors as early as the ground can be worked. For best color during cool weather, sow seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks prior to transplanting outside. Germination takes 5 to 14 days at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Plants will reseed profusely if not kept in check. Seeds stick tightly to clothes and animals that carry them far from the planned location.

Uses for Chinese forget-me-not: Grow them as a source of sky-blue color in beds or borders. They’re also striking in beds all by themselves or mixed with other flowers to tone down hot colors or to complement a range of pastels.

related variety: Firmament, an award-winner, is widely available. Chill Out has sky-blue and white flowers.

Scientific name of Chinese forget-me-not: Cynoglossum amabile

Step-by-Step Wildflower Seed Planting Instructions

  1. Check for your last frost date and plant after this has passed. Choose a spot on your property that gets 6 or more hours of direct sun a day unless you are planting seeds for shade.
  2. Prepare your soil by clearing the area of all existing growth. Simply dig up everything that is growing, turn the soil and rake the area flat. If this is an area that has never before been gardened, you may need to till the area up to remove growth.
  3. Mix the seeds with sand* for better visibility and scatter the seeds directly on top of the soil. If you are sowing a larger area, we recommend using a seed spreader; if not, you can sow by hand.
  4. We recommend lightly compressing the seeds into the soil, making sure not to bury them. You can either walk on them, use a board or if you are sowing a larger area, rent a seed roller.
  5. Water so that the soil is moist, not soaking wet, until the seedlings are about 4-6″ tall. After that, the seedlings will survive on natural rains. If you are experiencing very dry weather, we recommend watering occasionally.

Get more information on Planting Wildflowers View more Planting Guides, or download ourcomplete Planting Guidefor tips on caring for your plants when you receive your order, as well as planting instructions for Perennials, Spring-Planted Bulbs, Fall-Planted Bulbs, Cacti & Succulents, Xeric Plants and more.

Forget-Me-Not Seed Planting: Best Time To Plant Forget-Me-Not Seeds

Forget-me-nots are one of those charming, old school flower specimens that provide cheery blue life to gardens that are just waking up from winter naps. These flowering plants prefer cool weather, moist soil and indirect light but they will sprout up practically anywhere with wild abandon. If you already have the plants in your landscape, planting forget-me-nots from seeds is rarely necessary. This is because they are rampant self-seeders. If you want to introduce the plants to new territory, know when to plant forget-me-nots to ensure success with these easy little plants.

When to Plant Forget-Me-Nots

Who doesn’t like forget-me-nots? True, they aren’t very attractive when they die back after blooming but, in the meantime, they have an uncomplicatedly endearing nature that is trouble free and easy. Forget-me-nots are very hardy little plants that will die back in winter but re-sprout in spring. Plants that are at least a year old will flower the next spring. These little blue bloomers are so unfussy you can plant them almost anywhere at any time and expect some flowers within the next year and a half.

Forget-me-nots are usually biennial, which means they flower and die in the second year. This is when they set

seed too, which they wantonly release everywhere. Once you have forget-me-nots in your garden, it is rarely necessary to plant seed. The little plants can be left to overwinter and then get moved to wherever you want them in early spring.

If you want to start some plants for the first time, seeding them is easy. The best time to plant forget-me-not seeds is in spring to August if you want to have blooms the following season. Early spring seeded plants may produce flowers by fall. If you are willing to wait a season for blooms, sow the seeds in fall. The plants will produce flowers a year from the next spring.

Tips on Forget-Me-Not Seed Planting

For proven success, site selection and soil amendment will get you off on the right foot when planting forget-me-nots. The quickest, healthiest plants will come from seeds planted in well worked soil, with superior drainage, and plenty of organic matter.

Pick a location with partial shade or at the very least, protection from the hottest rays of the day. You may also sow the seeds indoors three weeks before the last expected frost. This will give you earlier blooms. For outdoor sowing, plant seeds with 1/8 soil lightly sprinkled over them in early spring when soil is workable.

Seeds will germinate in 8 to 14 days if kept moderately moist. Thin to 10 inches apart to allow room for adult plants. Plant indoor sown forget-me-not outdoors after acclimating plants to outside conditions over the course of a few days.

Care of Forget-Me-Nots

Forget-me-nots like plenty of moisture but not boggy soil. They have few pest or disease issues but do tend to get powdery mildew at the end of their life. Plants need to experience a chilling period to force buds and large enough to produce flowers too, which is usually after a year of growth.

Once they have flowered, the entire plant will die. Leaves and stems dry out and generally get gray. If you want more flowers in that site, leave plants in place until fall to allow the seeds to sow themselves naturally. Once the little seeds have formed small plants, you can relocate them to other areas of the garden for enchanting notes of blue in low light areas.

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