A favourite bedding biennial that provides a starry carpet of delicate flowers in early spring. Ideal for under-planting budding rose bushes or for mixing with spring bulbs and other early flowering plants. For example, a carpet of blue forget-me-not makes a great foil for hyacinth or tulips.
Family: Boraginaceae (borage)
Botanical Name: Myosotis
Common Names: Forget-me-not
Foliage: Simple small hairy leaves. Semi-evergreen.
Flowers: Clusters of small blue, yellow or white, 5-lobed flowers, with yellow or white centres.
Flowering Period: Mid-spring to early summer.
Soil: Any moist but well-drained garden soil. Chalk, clay, loam or sand. Alkaline or Neutral pH. Except for the 'water forget-me-not' (M. scorpioides), which grows in moist ground or as a marginal water plant.
Conditions: Best in full sun but will tollerate some shade.
Habit: Low growing, bushy.
Type: Annuals, biennials or short lived perennials. Best raised as biennials in the UK.
Origin: Native of woodland areas.
Hardiness: Fully hardy throughout the UK.
Very easy to grow from seed. Can be situated in a south, west or east facing aspect, in either an exposed or sheltered position.
Ideal for spring bedding schemes and borders. Also good as edging plants or as an early display in the rockery. The perfect choice for a cottage garden or a wildflower meadow.
Myosotis sets seeds naturally in open places. However, hybrids will eventually revert back to their native forms, which are usually more open and less floriferous.
Taller forms are ideal as cut flowers.
Water well in dry weather. Remove any plants that are diseased or have grey mould.
Deadhead regularly to extend the flowering period. Pull up plants once flowers have faded.
Usually trouble free but may be susceptible to powdery mildews if conditions are too damp.
Propagate by sowing seed in early summer where they are to flower. Alternatively, sow in a nursery bed and move to final positions in the autumn.
There are a number of good garden varieties available, mostly developed from the alpine species M. alpestris. Flower colours are traditionally blue, pink or white.
M. alpestris 'Blue Ball' (blue) and 'Carmine King' (rosy pink) are good for edging and as bedding. Height to 6-8in (15-20cm).
M. alpestris 'Royal Blue' is good in a mixed border. Height to 12in (30cm).
M. alpestris 'Blue Bouquet' a tall variety with sprays of deep blue flowers. Height to 15in (38cm).
M. alpestris 'Rose Pink' a compact plant with mid-pink flowers. Height to 6in (15cm).
M. alpestris 'White Ball' a compact plant with white
flowers. Height to 6in (15cm).
M. arvensis (field forget-me-not) Taller, with a more open habit. Height to 16in (40cm). A good choice for wildlife gardens and wildflower meadows.
M. scorpioides (water/marsh forget-me-not). Grow in wet conditions and around pool margins, in water depths up to 4in (10cm).
M. sylvatica (wood forget-me-not). Blue, yellow or white flowers. Height from 4 to 20in (10 to 50cm).