How to grow forget-me-not

Forget-me-not, or Myosotis, is a humble but glorious spring flower, which appears in frothy blue clouds at the front of borders and at the edges of paths. It complements other spring flowers, making a great backdrop for taller tulips or wallflowers, and naturalises easily for wilder-style plantings. It can also look great in a window box or container.

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Browse our handy guide tor growing forget-me-not, below.

Where to plant forget-me-not

Forget-me-not growing with hosta

Grow forget-me-not in moist, but well-drained soil in a sunny or shady spot. Planting forget-me-not alongside other shade-loving plants, such as hosta, pictured, can make for an attractive display.

Growing forget-me-not from seed

Planting forget-me-not

Sow forget-me-not seeds directly outdoors in May or June, or indoors in May, June and September. If sowing under cover, sprinkle seeds and cover with compost. Use a heated propagator or a warm windowsill to create the right conditions for germination. Once seedlings are large enough to handle, prick out and pot on. Flowers will appear the following year.

Propagating forget-me-not

Forget-me-not will self-seed easily. Either allow them to spread naturally or lift new seedlings and replant where you choose.

Myosotis: problem solving

There are no pests that target myosotis, but foliage can be prone to powdery mildew or downy mildew after flowering.

Care and maintenance

Most myosotis varieties are biennial, meaning they self-seed freely. Pull up the plants before they set seed if you don’t want them to spread too profusely.

Myosotis varieties to try

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  • Myosotis scorpioides – the water forget-me-not is an essential perennial for wildlife ponds, either for the edges or in shallow water. It provides shelter for aquatic larvae such as tadpoles, and newts lay eggs in the leaves. Cut back plants after flowering and divide clumps every few years
  • Myosotis sylvatica – the classic forget-me-not is a biennial that grows in clumps with the classic blue flowers appearing in late spring. A biennial, Myosotis sylvatica, will self-seed freely, and produce flowers reliably most years
  • Myosotis arvensis – the field forget-me-knot is an annual forget-me-not, with blue and sometimes pink spring flowers that sometimes continue until autumn. The rosettes of leaves will sometimes overwinter successfully
  • Myosotis ‘Blue Ball’ – this cultivar grows in neat, compact mounds, to a height of 15cm, with the characteristic blue flowers appearing in spring and early summer
  • Myosotis ‘Bluesylva’ – a low, spreading biennial cultivar, the blue flowers have a yellow eye that fades to white
  • Myosotis alpestris ‘Victoria’ – with soft pink, blue and white flowers, this has a long flowering period

The garden at the start of May is awash with a cathedral green light but the flowers and vegetables are still sparse. So the early flowering biennials are important in providing more than thrilling greens and promise but actual colour.

One of the first spring biennials to appear in this garden is the honesty Lunaria annua, which self-seeds in our damp garden, especially along the shaded base of the hornbeam hedge. We put in a few individual plants 10 years ago and it has self-seeded ever since. It germinates well from fresh seed when the lovely lunar disks dissolve and it quickly makes clumpy rosettes of leaves. These will over-winter and grow again in February. If they self-seed they will mass in groups in a border and need thinning, as they can crowd out less vigorous neighbours and, anyway, perform much better if given room. The leaves are elegantly nettlish and the stems have what look like stings along them, but they are an empty – if in evolutionary terms an effective – threat. The flowers are a mix of freshness and richness, often on the same stem, ranging from plum through to pale mauve. You can get L annua ‘Atrococcinea’ which is very red and ‘Munstead Purple’, which is decidedly purple. I have the blindingly pure white form mingled in among its purple kin. The pods of the white flowers are a pure green; the purple flowers produce pods with a purplish wash over them. Both become silvery when dry. They make a lovely cut flower – I have a large bunch on my desk, just picked and popped into a white jug, and they are more beautiful than anything any florist could devise.

I also have a vase with just one sprig of wallflower in it – the deep velvety ‘Blood Red’. It looks astonishingly healthy, with glossy leaves, flowers ranging from fully open – with matt primrose centres scattering lemon motes of pollen on the burgundy petals – to upright furls of bud. Just one wallflower is all we grow although there are more than 500 lining our Long Walk, with ‘Queen of Sheba’, ‘Abu Hassan’, ‘Flaming Parrot’ and ‘Queen of Night’ tulips growing through them. Any rich tulip makes a perfect partner for it. The Long Walk has high hedges and the honey scent is trapped and tunnelled along its length, so you either dip into it as you cross or immerse yourself in as intense a fragrance as you can grow by walking along its length.

Wallflowers are dead easy to grow: sow the seeds in a seed tray in late May (I clear this year’s plants to the compost heap and sow next year’s plants on the same day), prick them out into plugs or with more space in seed trays, and then line them out to grow on until October, when they can be planted in their final position. If you buy them as plants, make sure they have some soil attached to the roots. They will grow in very poor soil although a bit of goodness gives the plants a leafy, full body. Next year I shall expand out (a little) from the monopoly of ‘Blood Red’ and grow ‘Fire King’, which has a flame-like, sunset mix of orange and red, and perhaps ‘Primrose Monarch’ for the spring garden.

Forget-me-nots (Myosotis) need no growing regime. I know people who ban them from their gardens as being too invasive. Not me. I love and welcome them, but you do have to remove the majority of all your plants to the compost heap each year. When they get dry they quickly get a powdery mildew, and that is when I pull them up. However, for weeks in spring they provide an exquisite blue froth beneath tulips. Forget-me-nots must be blue. Any other colour is a travesty, although ‘Rosylva’ is pink, and there are white forms. Ignore them. There are a number of blue varieties, but ‘Royal Blue’ is taller than most, which improves it as underplanting for tulips. In our Spring garden I have the primrose-yellow ‘West Point’ and ‘White Triumphator’, both of which have the pointed, upright petals of lily-flowering tulips, which contrast well with the loose smudge of blue at their base.

Like all biennials you can ‘lose’ a season by over-vigorous weeding or mulching. I transplant seedlings in winter by the spadeful, lifting and transplanting them like turf to break up over-large drifts and spread them around a bit.

Sweet rocket or Dame’s Violet (Hesperis matronalis) arrives a little later, with the foxgloves, and the two look good growing side by side. It has nothing to do with herb rocket and everything to do with adding a lilac-pink leap into a border. It will produce white flowers, too, on H matronalis var albiflora, and the two crop up side by side in our walled garden, where it seeds itself in erratic quantities from year to year. This irregularity is one of the charms of self-sown plants. If you want strict order and control, then do it yourself. Go with nature and you take pot luck. I have seen it referred to as a short-lived perennial, but treat it as a biennial and you will not go wrong.

Foxgloves seed themselves on the margins and we collect these seedlings and move them, although I stress that, like all biennials, this must be done in the autumn or late winter. Leave it to spring and they never really recover. The native Digitalis purpurea looks best in the little coppice but in the borders the white form is nicer. Unfortunately, it often reverts back to the darker colour, so sow fresh seed each year or weed out the offending purple ones by identifying the pink mid-ribs in young plants. Or just accept the natural mix and go joyfully with it.

My roots
Watch the birdie
I work to the soundtrack of cuckoo and curlew call and the chatter of swallows. The garden belongs as much to the birds as it does to us. That is why it is so important not to cut any hedges between February and the end of July. They need the cover for nest building and for the young to have cover while they learn to fly and look after themselves. Our hedges serve as crowded streets which the birds run busily through. Mind you, our two cats do their best to destroy any avian life that they can get their horrid claws on. A year or so ago I watched the swallows return here, flying precisely to our eaves from Africa, and as they swooped to scoop up insects one of the cats rather lazily flicked up into the air and pulled a bird out of the sky, killed it then walked slowly off.

The asparagus is in full throttle, shooting up spears overnight. So far we can keep up with it, still relishing the luxury of eating it within minutes of cutting, but in a week it will feel rather a tyranny. Having organic food from the garden is so life enhancing and such a vital corrective to the tasteless, seasonless mush that is pumped out of the agri-factories masquerading as ‘farms’. In this way, gardens and allotments remain a vital yardstick for those of us who care about what we eat. I always grow too much fruit and veg, to make the most of the fecundity of the season: not to fill every spare inch with food that we want to eat seems a missed opportunity. Yes, there is excess – even waste – but at least it all goes on the compost heap and the goodness is returned back to the soil.

What is it? Forget-me-nots offer just the kind of froth every spring garden should provide, knitting over bare soil around spring bulbs and weaving a thread of sky blue through borders. They are vigorous self-seeders, and the most pretty of gatecrashers.

Any good varieties? Myosotis sylvatica ‘Wallufer Schnitt’ has particularly deep-blue flowers; there is a compact form called ‘Blue Ball’ and ‘Sylva’ offers pinks and whites.

Grow it with? The tried-and-tested plant recipe is forget-me-nots with tulips (I favour pink tulips like ‘China Pink’ and ‘Angélique’) and lime-green euphorbias. Too formal? Team with other natives, such as cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), honesty (Lunaria annua) and the male fern (Dryopteris filix-mas).

And where? They will do well in most soils in full sun or partial shade, although plants in hotter, drier spots are likely to fall prey to powdery mildew in summer.

Any drawbacks? By June you may itch to pull up at least half your plants to stop them taking over. Treat these biennials (which have a two-year lifecycle) as bedding and there will always be more.

What else does it do? Forget-me-nots make lovely cut flowers and are loved by bees and bee-flies.

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Forget-Me-Not Plants – Information On Growing Forget-Me-Nots

The true forget-me-not flower (Myosotis scorpioides) grows on tall, hairy stems which sometimes reach 2 feet in height. Charming, five-petaled, blue blooms with yellow centers explode from the stems from May through October. Flower petals are sometimes pink. Forget-me-not plants often grow near brooks and streams and other bodies of water which offer the high humidity and moisture that is desirable to this species.

The perennial forget-me-not flower spreads easily, freely self-seeding for more of the wildflower to grow and bloom in shady spots where the tiny seeds may fall. Forget-me-not flower care is minimal, as with most native

wildflowers. Forget-me-not plants grow best in a damp, shady area, but can adapt to full sun.

Forget-Me-Not Flower Care

Forget-me-not flower care will likely include removing these plants from unwanted spaces. While the forget-me-not flower is attractive in many designs, the free seeding specimen may take over areas where other plants are planned. Use the forget-me-not plant in areas that are too wet to support the root system of other flowers. Growing forget-me-nots will include watering those planted in drier areas.

The true forget-me-not plant, Myosotis scorpioides (Myosotis palustris), is native to the United States, making it a low maintenance addition to the landscape. Fertilize forget-me-not plants once or twice each season, once in spring and again in autumn, if needed

Places for Growing Forget-Me-Nots

Understanding how to grow forget-me-nots leads to their placement in the appropriate area. The specimen is excellent for naturalizing a shady, wooded area. This location allows for the shade and moisture retention needed for optimum performance of this wildflower. Of course, if you have a shady pond or bog area in need of landscaping, use this moisture loving flower there.

Forget Me Not – a symbol of eternal love and remembrance

Forget-me-not is a genus of plants that belong to the Boraginaceae family. There are about 70 official species of this flower. Although the species are different from each other, most of them have small 0.5 in flowers in diameter. Each of the flowers has five blue petals that grow at the end of the stem. Forget-me-not is not only a beautiful ornamental flower used in gardens. It also has a rich and interesting history. Over the years, forget-me-not became a symbol of friendship and eternal love. But there is much more than that. Let’s take a look at the forget me not flower meaning, origins, and other interesting facts.

Forget me not name meaning

The scientific name of this flower is Myosotis (mouse’s ear) which is a compound of two Ancient Greek words mus (mouse) and otis (ears). This name refers to the plant’s foliage that looks like mouse ears. It’s also called Scorpion grasses. The plant’s more common name the forget-me-not is more popular in the northern hemisphere. There are lots of legends explaining the history behind this name.

One of the most popular myths about forget-me-not’s name is about how God was creating the earth. When he created all the flowers, he started to name each one of them. After God named all the flowers and was about to leave, one tiny little flower started to cry and said: “Forget me not, Lord!”. God looked back at the tiny plant and told: “This will be your name, so no one will ever forget you”.

Image via nofus_buyana

Another version of the forget-me-not’s name is about love. A French knight and his lady were walking along a river. Knight saw a tiny blue flower and bent down to pick it up for his girl. Unfortunately, the knight lost his balance because of his heavy armor and fell into the current. He tossed the flower to his girl, shouted “forget me not!”, and drowned in the river.

Although the myth above is French, they don’t call the flower that way. French use its scientific name myosotis. But we can find forget-me-not name in many European countries: Vergissmeinnicht in German, Neužmirštuolė in Lithuanian, no-me-olvides in Spanish, Vergeet-mij-nietje in Dutch, Forglemmegei in Norwegian, etc. In 1398, Henry IV of England took the German Vergissmeinnicht and adapted it as his emblem.

Forget me not flower meaning

In general, forget me not flower meaning is remembrance and love. During the middle ages, lovers in Germany were wearing forget-me-nots as a reminder of their love for each other.

But forget me not flower meaning can also be negative. Until this day, it is a symbol of freemasons who suffered during WWII. Many Alzheimer societies have also adopted this flower as a symbol of memory loss. Forget me not flower is an emblem of the international missing children’s day. It’s also the symbol of the 1915 Armenian genocide remembrance.

Image via k.d.thompson

According to the French legend, a young knight was trying to pick up the flower for his lady. But he fell into the river because of his heavy armor. Before sinking forever, he tossed the flower to his girl and shouted ‘forget me not!’. Since then, the flower symbolizes sincere, eternal, and desperate love. From another perspective, it also represents the memory of a deceased person.

Another forget me not flower meaning comes from a Christian legend. God was naming every flower he created, and when he was about to leave, one tiny flower started to cry and said: ‘forget me not, Lord!’. The lord then turned back and said: ‘this will be your name so that no one forgets it.’ From a Christian perspective, this legend shows us God’s mercy and compassion for every living organism.

Forget me not emblem meaning

Between the WWI and WWII, the forget me not emblem was a symbol of Masonic charitable organizations in Germany. The flower had a very clear message: ‘Do not forget the poor and the ill’. Masonic organizations first used this emblem in 1926.

After Hitler got the power, it became clear that Masons are in danger. Masons then changed their traditional square and compass symbol to a little forget-me-not in order to avoid Nazi attention.

Image via tyniap

Nazis wanted to confiscate all Masonic properties, so the Masons decided to go undercover. They adopted the little emblem as a secret symbol of Freemasonry. The tiny blue forget-me-not embodied the survival of Masons throughout the 3rd Reich. It helped Masons to identify themselves in the streets without Nazis knowing about it.

Forget-me-not characteristics

It is a plant that belongs to the Boraginaceae family. One of the things that help to distinguish this flower is it’s hairy, lanceolate, and basal leaves. Each flower has five petals and the center looks like a bright yellow pentagram. The flowers are small and grow in groups because the wind disperses their tiny seeds in large territories. Depending on the species, may vary in color. But the most common color of forget me not is blue, pink or white. Forget me not flower blooms both in summer and spring.

More than 60 species of this plant appear in Eurasia. It also grows in New Zealand, The Americas, and Papua New Guinea. Researchers have found that the origins of forget me not genus are in the Northern Hemisphere. On the side to forget me not’s symbolical meanings, it is also a very popular plant in gardens. We can also often find them in flower bouquets, and other decorative objects.

Image via heggjes

If you’ve decided to grow this flower, there’s a couple of things you should know. First, it needs a good amount of sunlight. The best place to grow them is in partial shade. You will also need a soil with good humidity and drainage. The earth around forget-me-nots must never be dry.

Forget-me-not’s medicinal properties

Although there is some evidence that the flower has some medicinal properties, it is considered an unsafe plant. It contains toxic alkaloids that can cause liver damage and cancer. There is a lack of research and evidence of forget-me-not’s medicinal uses.

Despite the fact that the toxins can cause serious problems, people still use it as a herbal medicine material. The most common usage of forget-me-not is its tea. The tea is made of a Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile). The herbal medicine enthusiasts claim that these flowers contain Vitamin C and have many health benefits such as soothing the nerves, reducing high blood pressure and others.

Image via jazwophotography

It is also known to be used for lung problems and nose bleeds. But as there is no scientific evidence in forget-me-not medicinal properties, we don’t recommend it to use it for anything related to your health.

Cover image via Jason Joe

The Forget Me Not flower, by any other name would not be so sweet to gardeners, nor would the other numerous little blue forget me not flowers affectionately given the same name by their admirers.

But are forget-me-not plant perennials?

It does seem strange that through the years, both here and abroad, so many annuals and perennials have been called forget-me-nots indiscriminately.

True forget-me-not flowers have been prized by gardeners for generations.

What Do Forget Me Nots Look Like? Above image:

Perhaps the little blue flowers of the forget-me-not are cherished because they are reminiscent of gardens of the long ago childhood gardens, or those of a beloved mother or grandmother.

Forget-me-nots are water-loving plants, certainly not showy or striking; rather, their attraction is daintiness and exquisite, heavenly color.

These plants can be grown as annuals or perennials but in most climates, they typically perform as biennials.

Although the Forget-me-not flowers typically bloom very little during their first season of growth, they bloom profusely in their second spring.

These beautiful flowers continue to bloom from early spring until the first frost and remain dormant throughout the winter.

Forget-me-not plants make great flower gifts. You can buy them from florist flower shops. Others make use of online flower services to send their regards to mothers during mother day occasion.

Apart from serving as a Mother’s Day flower and florist item, forget me not flowers are also used as a funeral flower.

Plants usually reseed on their own if well maintained and reappear annually.

What Are Forget Me Nots?

Forget-me-nots are a group of about 50 species in the genus Myosotis (Mye-oh-soh-tiss) which is part of the Boraginacae family.

Most have racemes of small, flat, bright blue flowers (some varieties of white and pink), with five petals growing thickly on their stems.

Myosotis is a Greek name meaning “mouse-ear” and was given to the plant because of the shape of the small leaves. Both the annual and perennial are native to Eurasia.

The biennial variety, Myosotis sylvatica (sil-vat-ik-uh) stop flowering and set seed with the arrival of summer heat. Small Myosotis sylvatica seedlings appear unobtrusively in fall and bloom profusely on the following spring.

The biennial variety Myosotis scorpioides (skorp-ee-oyd-eez) thrives very well in boggy locations.

The perennial varieties do not put on as impressive flower show as their biennial cousins. However, they tend to flower for a longer season, usually starting from spring through summer.

Myosotis alpestris is the most popular and considered by many preferable to the perennial. This annual is dwarf, growing to 9″ inches, with pink, blue or white flowers.

The blooms of perennial Myosotis palustris are blue with yellow, pink or white centers. This type has narrow leaves and grows somewhat taller.

Where To Plant The Forget Me Not Flower, Selecting The Ideal Location

True forget-me-nots may be set out in spring or fall, or plants may be grown from seeds sown from early spring throughout summer.

Myosotis alpestris needs a sunny, well-drained location while the perennial Myosotis palustris, frequently called the “marsh” forget-me-not, prefers moist soil and a semi-shaded location.

These forget-me-nots are useful in planning a rock garden design, as a carpet around spring and summer flowering bulbs, and toward the foreground of borders.

The Forget-me-nots will do exceptionally well in an area that receives filtered to moderate shade with wet gravelly soil.

The natural habitat of wild Forget-me-not flowers is near stream and creek beds in several inches of water. Look for a location low and easy to keep wet.

NOTE: Although you may enjoy forge me not flowers, do not forget they are freely self-seeding and spread easily.

How To Grow Forget Me Nots Seeds

Forget-me-nots are freely self-seeding, making acquiring seed is easy. Before growing forget me nots, incorporate organic material like compost or manure into planting beds.

Sow seeds of Forget-me-not’s which take 8 to 14 days to germinate, directly into prepared flowerbeds after all danger of frost. Sow seeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost if you want plants to bloom earlier.

When planting in outdoor flowerbeds, add mulch until the seeds starts to germinate. The mulch will help retain moisture and suppress weeds.

How To Plant Forget Me Nots: Propagating Established Plants

Forget-me-nots can easily be propagated by separating clumps of the established plants.

How To Care For Forget Me Not Plants

Keep Soil Moist – Forget-me-nots love moist soil. Never allow to dry out. Watering with a soaking hose or drip irrigation make the watering process simple.

Fertilizer Requirements – Apply slow releasing balanced all-purpose granular fertilizer at least once per season. Early spring is the ideal time. Avoid over fertilizing. Use the recommended application rate.

Pruning & Shaping Forget-Me-Not Plants – Generally, these plants are ground cover plants. Pruning and shaping can be difficult.

Control their growth by removing them in places where they are not supposed to extend and shape them into your desired landscape bed designs.

Controlling Pest and Diseases – overall diseases and insects are not too common. In some cases, aphids tend to affect new foliage growth. Control aphids naturally with applications of insecticidal soap sprays.

Keep an eye out for Flea beetles which often infest Forget me nots and puncture the leaves. Learn more in our article: How To Control Flea Beetles.

Forget-me-nots create offer a soft beauty to gardens. They are easy to maintain and do well when planted them in rich soil and kept well watered.

More Blue Plants:

  • How To Grow The “Blue” Plumbago Plant
  • Lobelia Plant Care
  • Caring For Blue Chinese Forget Me Not

Legends And History Of The Forget Me Nots Flowers

These tiny flowers have been cherished and remembered for generations. This can be attested to by the numerous legends regarding their origin.

These “legends” have persisted and been handed down in many different lands. One of the earliest and most delightful of these legends comes from Wales, an unusual source for such tales.

In that country in the mountains of Glamorgan, fairy gold was hidden so goes the story.

On the mountainside nearby grew a carpet of bluest forget-me-nots, dainty and ethereal.

Evil men heard rumors of the elfin gold and decided to steal it. They took no notice of the heavenly blue of the flowers close by.

As they were carrying off the treasure a sweet elfln voice spoke to them from one of the little blue flowers. “You have taken the least and left the best. Forget-me-not.”

The men paid no attention and were about to disappear with the loot, regardless. This angered the mountains and they shook their sides, swallowing up both men and gold.

The forget-me-nots, too, were covered for a time but soon thrust their way up and up to deck the mountain slopes once again covered them with blue. There they continue to grow and bloom.

Passers-by whose ears are attuned to the “little voices” hear them calling from the mountainside again and again, “Forget-me-not… Forget-me-not.”

White Forget-Me-Not Flower Seed

Flower Specifications

Season: Perennial

USDA Zones: 3 – 8

Height: 12 inches

Bloom Season: Spring to summer

Bloom Color: White

Growth Rate: Moderate

Environment: Full sun to partial shade

Soil Type: Moist, pH 6.1 – 7.8

Deer Resistant: Yes

Planting Directions

Temperature: 68 – 72F

Average Germ Time: 10 – 20 days

Light Required: No

Depth: 1/16 inch

Sowing Rate: 2 ounces per 1,000 square feet or 5 pounds per acre

Moisture: Keep seed moist until germination

Plant Spacing: 9 – 12 inches

Care & Maintenance: Myosotis

Forget Me Not (Myosotis Alpestris White) – What a charming little treasure for the spring garden! White Forget-Me-Not is quite easy to grow from flower seeds. It has multiple, somewhat bristly stems densely covered by delicate white flowers with yellow eyes, and hairy gray-green foliage. This perennial plant is a sweet little addition to the early flowering garden.

Directly sow Forget Me Not flower seeds in prepared soil in the garden in spring. Press the seeds into the soil and very lightly cover the flower seeds with fine soil. Keep the seeds moist until germination. When seedlings appear, thin to 9 – 12 inches apart. Water Forget-Me-Not plants weekly, and apply an application of a balanced liquid fertilizer in the spring. In cold climates, mulching in the fall will help the plants survive the winter. In milder climates, Forget-Me-Not plants need no winter protection. Forget-me-not plants dry completely in the heat of summer and their seeds fall to the ground. These Forget-me-not flower seeds germinate the following spring to create even more beautiful new Forget-me-not plants.

Shake ‘n Seed – We are now offering shaker bottles filled with our seed starting matrix: rich soil, gardening sand, water absorbing crystals, and starter fertilizer. This not only helps dispense your seed, but it gets it off to a great start! Simply remove lid from shaker bottle, add seed from packet, put back on lid, shake the bottle vigorously for 15 seconds, and then shake your way to beautiful new plants! Use Shake ‘n Seed over good quality soil, and then gently water to keep seed moist until it sprouts. Great for ground covers or mass planting flower seeds.

The Forget Me Not Flower: Its Meanings & Symbolism

Etymological Meaning of the Forget Me Not Flower

All of the hundreds of flowers in the Myosotis genus can be called Forget Me Nots. This unusual Greek name means mouse’s ear, which is a pretty literal description of the shape of the flower’s small petals. The descriptive name first came from the German term Vergissmeinnicht. Most stories and myths involving this flower took place in Germany and the surrounding countries, but an English name was in use by the beginning of the 1400 century in the rest of Europe. Despite translation challenges, most other countries use a similar name or phrase to describe the same flower.

Symbolism of the Forget Me Not Flower

Since the Germans coined the most common name used for this flower, it’s natural that there’s a myth of two lovers walking along the Danube River first seeing the bright blue blossoms. The man retrieved the flowers for the woman, but he was swept away by the river and told her not to forget him as he floated away. Whether the story is true or not, it’s certainly made the Forget Me Not a lasting symbol of remembrance. It’s also been adopted as a symbol by the Freemasons who faced persecution for their beliefs, and represents the Armenian Genocide that started in 1915. The Alzheimer’s Society uses it as an icon to raise awareness for the disease and support for caretakers. While the Forget Me Not has played a big role in Europe and America over the last few hundred years, it’s still relatively rarely used in other cultures.

The Forget Me Not Flower Facts

Each variety in the Forget Me Not family produces slightly different flowers, but the main type used for bouquets and flower beds produces small blue flowers with five petals. Careful breeding has produced pink, purple, and white varieties, although they are not as commonly available from florists and nurseries as the classic blue variety. Most types prefer dry conditions and light sandy soils, yet there are varieties that can thrive in any kind of garden or yard.

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      • Ga – Gz
      • Ha – Hz
      • Ia – Iz
      • Ka – Kz
      • La – Lz
      • Ma – Mz
      • Na – Nz
      • Oa – Oz
      • Pa – Pz
      • Sa – Sz
      • Ta – Tz
      • Va – Vz
      • Wa – Wz
    • Wild Flowers
  • Fruit Seeds
    • Melon
    • Passion Fruit – Edible
    • Rhubarb
    • Strawberry
  • Herb Seeds
    • A – C
    • D – F
    • G – L
    • M – R
    • S – Z
  • Growing aids
    • Compost additives
    • Fertiliser
    • Green Manure
    • Pots / trays
      • Hanging Baskets and liners
      • Pots
      • Propagator lids and trays
      • Trays and inserts
    • Terrariums
  • Terrariums & Live plants
  • Bulk Seeds
    • Flower seeds
      • A – C
      • D – G
      • H – J
      • K – M
      • N – P
      • S – V
      • W – Z
    • Fruits
    • Herbs
      • A – C
      • D – F
      • J – L
      • M – O
      • P – R
      • S – Z
    • Vegetable Seeds
      • Artichoke
      • Asparagus
      • Aubergine
      • Beetroot
      • Borecole / Kale
      • Broad bean
      • Broccoli / Calabrese
      • Cabbage
      • Carrot
      • Cauliflower
      • Celeriac
      • Celery
      • Chicory
      • Courgette
      • Cucumbers
      • French Beans
      • Leek
      • Lettuce
      • Marrow
      • Onions
      • Oriental veg
      • Parsnip
      • Peas
      • Peppers – Hot
      • Pumpkin
      • Radish
      • Runner Bean
      • Salad /Baby Leaf
      • Spinach
      • Squash
      • Sweet peppers
      • Sweetcorn
      • Tomato
      • Turnip
    • Wildflower seeds
  • Sow in December

Inspiration

Photographs, unless otherwise noted, are by Marjorie Tudor.

Such a generous and happy spirit is the forget-me-not; a biennial, it seeds freely in anticipation of the next year’s bloom. “Once you’ve got them, Tasha told me, “you will keep them.” And, of course, she knew what she was talking about. Forget-me-nots are easy to grow and they are beautiful. They bloom for about a month in six to twelve inch tall stalks, sometimes white or pink scattered within the blue. The flowers are small and collect in clusters atop the stalks and there are lots of them.

Forget-me-nots are tough and will survive in zones 3 – 8. Blooming period wanes with the arrival of early summer’s heat, seeds ripen quickly and late summer/early fall brings a show of small seedlings. These seedlings quickly grow into sturdy plants and will overwinter to bloom the following spring. I should mention, too, the less common forget-me-not, M. scorpioides, which thrives in boggy areas. They flower over a longer period, often through much of the summer, but are not as showy.

Little spring bouquet, featuring forget-me-nots! Illustration by Tasha Tudor from Tasha Tudor’s Garden.

Forget-me-nots (M. sylvatica) prefer cool, moist homes with some shade, but they can survive in hot sun if the soil does not dry out. If you live in southern states, you absolutely must plant them in shade and give them extra moisture if the soil is apt to dry out.

Because myosotis sylvatica are biennials, they die after flowering and dry up. This is not their finest hour. It can be hard to resist the temptation to pull the plants up before seeds set, but if you do, next spring’s glory will forsake you. Tasha never found this stage at all disturbing and rejoiced to know the blue would come back after winter passed to reveal the fresh, clear green of new plants. And too, remember that when forget-me-nots look their worst, many perennials and annuals are just coming into bloom. So, be patient with this brief period of disarray and you will be rewarded.

When the time was right, and the seeds had set, some having fallen upon the ground beneath, Tasha would go about with armloads of dried up forget-me-not plants, scattering the hard, black seeds here and there, preparing her artist’s pallet in anticipation of the coming spring.

*Note: We do harvest and hand-pack a small quantity of seeds from Tasha’s garden and offer them for sale. Visit the Tasha’s Secret Garden section of our website for gardening booklets, scarves, artwork, and more!

Don’t Forget About Forget-Me-Nots

Myosotis derives its name from the shape of the foliage, which resembles a mouse’s ear. This genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae includes a variety of shrubs, trees, and herbs totaling about 2,000 species in 146 genera. They are known as forget-me-nots and scorpion grass in the northern hemisphere. The colloquial name comes from the German and is thought to have first been used in AD 1398 by King Henry IV of England. Similar names can be found in many languages. The plant is often confused with Chatham Islands Forget-Me-Nots which belong to the related genus Myosotidium.

How To Identify The Plant

The genus name comes from the classical Greek word myosotis, mus meaning mouse and ous or otos meaning ear. The name designates plants with short, pointed leaves. Silvatica means growing in the woods, forest-loving.

Myosotis species have 5 flowers, each having 5 sepals and petals. Flowers are typically 1 cm or less in diameter. They are flat, blue, pink, white, or yellow with yellow centers and are born on cymes. Flowering typically occurs in the spring. They can be grown as either annuals or perennials. The foliage is alternate; roots are generally diffuse. The seeds are found in small, tulip-shaped pods along the stem. The pods attach to clothing and animal fur, eventually fall off where the small seeds inside then germinate elsewhere. Collect seeds by placing a sheet of paper under the stems and shaking the seed pods onto the paper.

North American Varieties

Although native to Europe and Asia, the plant escaped gardens and naturalized in a number of locations in North America. More than 500 species names have been recorded, but only 74 are currently accepted. The remainder are considered either synonyms or proposed names. The genus is largely restricted to western Eurasia (60 confirmed species) and New Zealand (approximately 40 confirmed species). A scarcity of species occurs elsewhere including North and South America. Despite this, Myosotis species are now common throughout temperate regions because of the introduction of cultivars and alien species. Where not native, they prefer moist habitats and frequently escape to wetlands and riverbanks. Only those native to the Northern Hemisphere are called forget-me-nots.

Genetic analysis indicates the genus originated in the Northern Hemisphere and that the species is native to Australia, New Zealand, and South America, where all are derived from a single seed dispersal to the Southern Hemisphere. One or two European species like Myosotis sylvatica, woodland forget-me-nots, were introduced into most of the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Culture

Easily grown in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade, plants appreciate some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Although technically a short-lived perennial, the plant is often grown as a biennial by planting seed in mid-summer for bloom the following year. It is also grown as an annual by starting seed indoors about 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date for bloom the same year. Regardless of the method, plants will persist in the garden for many years since they freely self-seed. In formal garden areas such as border fronts where naturalization is not desirable, remove some of the cymes immediately after bloom to minimize self-seeding.

Landscaping Uses

Hardy in zones 3-8, forget-me-nots can be used as bedding plants and for borders, rock gardens, wild gardens, woodland areas, and around ponds where plants can naturalize. Interplant them with spring bulbs.

They are easy-care with no serious insect or disease problems but can be susceptible to mildew and rust.

Folklore

In Germany, the forget-me-not got its name from a romantic tragedy involving a knight and his lady. The most common version involves a couple who were strolling along the Danube River when the lady spotted a blue-flowered plant dislodged by the water and about to be swept downstream. She desired to save it, so the knight leapt into the water. The current was too swift for him, and as he was being swept out to sea, he threw the flowers onto the bank, calling out, “Vergiss mein nicht”, or forget-me-not.

(on my deck)

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