These dainty flowers are popular as ornamental plants. They can be planted in the garden or kept in pots. Once you know how they are relatively easy to care for. Is this your first time considering this ornamental jewel? Great. Our guide is packed with all the tips you need to grow a healthy plant that will produce beautiful blooms for a long time!
Table of Contents
Origins and Appearance
Forget-me-not plants are wildflowers that native to New Zealand, Eurasia and North America. But these days, the popular flowering shrub is kept in homes all over the world.
This plant is best known for its dainty, 5-petaled flowers. The tiny blooms are extraordinarily pretty and when they appear in clusters, their true beauty is enough to capture anyone’s eye. The most popular shades are blue or white. This is also a short plant, making it perfect for pots or as a groundcover. The stems are hairy while the oval-shaped leaves are smooth and bright to dark green.
Temperature and Humidity
Forget-me-not plants are exceptionally hardy. They can withstand cold and hot seasons without many problems. That makes them suitable for your plant collection, no matter where you live! That being said, most forget-me-nots also appreciate partial shade or afternoon shade during the summer.
If you live in a region where summer has an intensely humid flavor, then you might want to consider other plants. Forget-me-nots do not do well in such areas. While they can deal with heat and moisture to a degree, high humidity makes these plants very susceptible to powdery mildew disease. For more information on this pesky disease, check our “pests and diseases” section later on.
Watering and Feeding
Forget-me-nots are unusual in the sense that they absolutely adore wet soil. Most other plants would either drown or develop root rot – but not these small shrubs! They flourish in high-rain areas or gardens where moisture is a problem for other plant species. Due to this trait, it is also important to never let your plant dry out completely.
This plant also does not need a lot of fertilizer. It will happily flourish when you provide it with a good, slow-release fertilizer early in the spring. Avoid over-feeding your forget-me-not and try to use a fertilizer that is safe for pets, kids, and the environment!
Soil and Repotting
Besides the fact that forget-me-nots love moist soil, they also appreciate soil that is rich and well-draining. This makes them particularly suited as pot plants because quality potting soil is both nutrient-rich and designed to allow water to drain without difficulty.
As we have mentioned before, this species is a great pot plant for beginners and experts alike. They need little care once you have checked a few boxes and allowed them to settle in. Here are two important things to keep in mind. Since forget-me-nots like moist soil, a plastic container is best (clay and ceramic do not hold moisture as well). This plant also needs good air circulation.
Re-pot your forget-me-not when the plant outgrows its container or at least once a year. When you re-pot once or twice a year, the new soil offers your plant a fresh reserve of important nutrients!
Get all the best tips on how to re-pot your house plants.
Since forget-me-nots are wildflowers, they do not need excessive pruning. Light pruning is allowed to help create that lovely ball shape of a well-kept specimen. Deadheading can also promote more flowers to show up and this can extend the time that your plant stays in bloom. But resist deadheading if you want seeds.
If you decide to give your plant a haircut, do so in the late fall or first days of winter.
Pests and Diseases
In general, forget-me-nots are healthy and free of pests and diseases. Another reason why they are great for beginners! But sometimes, you might notice a leaf curling in the wrong way or a mouldy spot on your plant. Then it is time to put on your nurse cap and discover what ails your bush. Let’s have a look at which pests and blights tend to affect this wildflower.
Not a lot of pests will munch on your forget-me-not. But when you do happen to find signs of an infestation, the chances are that you are looking at aphids. These goobers can quickly multiply and suck the life out of your plant – literally. Once you spot them, check for more under leaves or where new growth appears (aphids love fresh shoots). When you find the pests, use an organic pesticide to get rid of them.
Common Diseases and Problems
Next, we will discuss the three most common diseases that afflict forget-me-nots, their symptoms and prognosis.
Cause: Fungal infection.
Symptoms: A brown discoloration that starts at the bottom of the stem and works its way upwards.
Once crown rot appears, there is nothing that you can do to save the plant. Since this is an infectious fungal problem, you must discard the plant to prevent the disease from spreading to your other pot plants or the rest of your garden.
The pathogen lives in soil and can be spread via gardening tools or even splashing water. To prevent crown rot from happening, make sure that your forget-me-nots are not living in constant moist and humid conditions. Good air circulation will also keep them safe.
Cause: Fungal infection.
Symptoms: Fluffy white growths on leaves. Yellow mottling.
Powdery mildew is most commonly caused by overcrowding. Ensure that your plants are spaced apart with enough distance to allow proper air circulation. This will prevent most cases of mildew.
But if you notice that your plant is already affected then you can get rid of the afflicted leaf or the entire plant. You can also take an organic fungicide and spray the other plants around the sick plant to give them an added layer of protection.
Cause: Fungal infection.
Symptoms: Reddish-brown blotches on the leaves.
True to its name, this infection gives your plant a rusty appearance. Spots of brown will appear on the foliage, each encircled with yellow. Plants can also experience stunted growth. Usually, the best course of action is to get rid of the shrub but if you choose to save it, purchase a fungicide with a copper or sulphur base.
Most species are completely safe to have around your pets and children. However, since some species are mildly toxic, you should always research the one you are interested in and make sure that it won’t harm your loved ones.
A surprising fact about these lovely flowers is that they are indeed an invasive species. In some parts of the US, they are classified as weed (because it seeds and propagates itself so readily).
Both! Among the 100 species of forget-me-nots, some are perennials, annuals, and biennials. If you want a shortlived shrub, then annuals are fine. Biennials (2-years) and perennials (several years) are better if you want your plants to last longer than a single year.
Yes, you can cultivate your own plants at home. In fact, you have three propagation choices. The first is to divide the rhizomes in the early spring. You can also allow the plants to go to seed and plant those. Finally, you can also take stem cuttings in the summer.
There are many legends tied to this flower and how it got its name. Some stories relate how God or Zeus gave the wildflower its name because it either could not remember its own name or it asked not to be forgotten when all the flowers were given names.
In reality, the name “forget-me-not” only appeared in the 19th century. Before that, the plant was known as scorpion grass.
If you grow your own plants from seed, you are going to have to wait roughly a year to see some flowers. That’s how long it takes for the plant to mature enough to bloom. If you want flowers sooner, it might be a better idea to buy older plants from your local garden centre.