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Forget-me-not

Kornelia Friedenauer Kornelia FriedenauerVerena Schmidt Verena Schmidt

Myosotis are popular spring bloomers and look wonderful in groups. How to plant and care for Myosotis.

Origin

Forget-me-not (Myosotis) is a plant genus in the borage family (Boraginaceae). The spring bloomer has the botanical name Myosotis, which comes from the Ancient Greek for “mouse’s ear” and relates to the leaf shape. There are around 50 forget-me-not species worldwide. The name forget-me-not is borrowed from the German Vergissmeinnicht and according to a legend: once upon a time, two lovers went for a walk by a river, the girl discovered a blue flower on the bank. Her beloved climbed down to pick the flower for her, but fell into the water, was swept away and could only call out to her: “Forget me not!” This is just one of many legends about how the delicate blue little flower with the yellow eye got its meaningful name. It has the same name in many other languages too, for example "Ne m'oubliez pas" in France and “nomeolvides” in Spanish.

In its original form, forget-me-not flowers are blue, the color of loyalty and desire, and have therefore become an important symbol. As a "magic herb", it was said to have magical powers in the form of "invisible chains of loyalty”, but only if the roots or a wreath of flowers was placed around the neck or on the heart of the loved one. Today, the forget-me-not is a popular spring bloomer, which looks wonderful in big groups.

Appearance and Growth

Depending on the variety, forget-me-nots grow to a height of 7.87 to 15.75 inches tall and form long flower spikes. They are generally annual or perennial herbaceous plants. At first, the plants usually grow in rosettes with long, linear, and slightly hairy leaves. In spring, they produce upward-growing, branched shoots with terminal panicles and either a few subtending bracts or none at all. The flowering period is from April to June. The flowers have five petals and usually shine in the classic blue color. But there are also white and light pink varieties.

blue forget-me-not

The forget-me-not is a popular spring bloomer

Location and Soil

The spring bloomer prefers sunny to partially shaded spots and thrives in permeable, fresh soil.

Planting

New seeds should be sown directly into open ground in June or July. In fall, the young plants can simply be moved to their own spot in the flower bed, where they will flower the following spring.

Care Tips

Forget-me-nots are usually very low maintenance. Make sure to water the substrate regularly in dry conditions. The plant does not need to be pruned or fertilized. You can simply remove deadheads every now and then.

Winter protection

The traditional cottage garden plant should be given winter protection in cold regions. Young plants in particular need to be protected from severe frosts with a cover of leaves or brushwood.

Use

Forget-me-nots are very beautiful bedding plants, which go well with other spring bloomers like viola cornuta and tulips. The forget-me-not is ideal for the edge of flower beds and also suitable for filling gaps. The small flowers look particularly good when sown in large quantities. You can also put the plant in pots on the balcony or patio.

Important Species and Varieties

pink forget-me-not

The woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) surprises with a wide range of colors. For example, with pink flowers: The varieties are called 'Rosylva', 'Victoria Rosea', and 'Pompadour'

The woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) is usually biennial and available in many different colors. Sunny locations with fresh soil are ideal for the borage family plant. It will self-sow and between March and May covers large areas with its clouds of flowers. The water forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris) enjoys streams and pond edges. It flowers from May to August, is perennial, and therefore a popular permanent garden resident.

The forget-me-not also has to compete with its more distant relatives: Blue-eyed Mary (Omphalodes verna) and largeleaf brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla) belong to the same family and have equally pretty flowers. Both plants flower from April to May and prefer loamy, humus-rich fresh soils. Blue-eyed Mary works particularly well as groundcover below sparse shrubs and spreads through runners so quickly that it sometimes displaces weak neighbors. Largeleaf brunnera is a valuable shrub for sun and partial shade, and besides blue flowers, also has particularly beautiful bright green leaves.


Can’t make up your mind with so much variety? A tip: when all the species come together to transform the garden into a sky blue sea of flowers, it’s a guaranteed unforgettable sight.

Memorial stone with ovate leaves

Blue-eyed Mary (Omphalodes verna) looks very similar to the forget-me-not and also belongs to the same family. However, on closer inspection, the following differences are clear: The leaves are ovate, and the center of the small, light blue flowers is white

Propagation

Once the forget-me-not has established itself in the garden, it self-sows again each year. The woodland forget-me-not is usually grown as a biennial. It is sown in July. Mix potting soil with a little clay in a seed tray, distribute the seeds on top and cover them with soil. The substrate should always be kept moist. The young plants can be put in the flower bed in October. Protect them against severe frost using fleece or some spruce branches. The water forget-me-not, blue-eyed Mary, and largeleaf brunnera are perennial and are best propagated via division. In optimal locations, woodland forget-me-nots, water forget-me-nots, and largeleaf brunnera also spread by self-seeding. Blue-eyed Mary develops runners and is therefore great as groundcover.

Diseases and Pests

In terms of pests, the plants are sometimes affected by aphids. In wet weather conditions, forget-me-nots can be affected by powdery mildew and gray mold.

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