Forget-me-nots are very easy to grow, and they will inject a plethora of color into your containers, beds, or borders with very little effort required.
They compliment a wide range of plants, and will match a range of planting schemes or themes to suit any garden.
Once you start growing them, you’ll find it difficult to refrain from sowing the seeds year after year, as they can produce countless tiny flowers, crammed into the smallest of spaces.
Here’s everything you need to get started growing your own forget-me-nots, including where to put them in your garden, when to water them, and the different types available.
At A Glance: What You Should Know About Forget-Me-Nots
The forget-me-not plant produces tiny flowers, usually in shades of vivid blues, whites, or pinks, generally in spring, but you do get species that flower at other times of the year.
They make the perfect container-filler, producing sprays of color that will fill any bare soil, while attracting plenty of beneficial insects into your garden.
Because the flowers are so tiny, they contrast well against larger flowers such as red, white or pink tulips to contrast against the familiar bright blue of the forget-me-not, without overcrowding flowers that reach much taller heights.
Forget-me-nots make up the Myosotis plant genus, which is part of the borage plant family. There are approx. 74 species of Forget-me-nots, with around 500 species names recorded but not officially classified.
Most of the species come from western Eurasia, comprising around 60 species, another 40 come from New Zealand, and a handful come from the Americas.
Many forget-me-nots have naturalized in non-native countries, too.
How To Recognize a Forget-Me-Not
You can recognize a forget-me-not plant easily by the flowers. For most forget-me-nots, these flowers will be a bright blue, but this is dictated by the specific species.
Each flower consists of five petals, sometimes carpeting the ground, growing quite compact, and others get as high as 2 feet tall.
They grow in moist, well-draining soil. The leaves can be lance-shaped, oblong, oval, or rounded, depending on the type.
Types of Forget-Me-Nots
Myosotis alpestris ‘Alpine Forget-me-not’
The most common type found in Britain, the alpine forget-me-not, or ‘Scorpion Grass’ is naturally found in fields, meadows, woodland, and rockeries.
This is a biennial type, which means it takes two years for it to grow, flower, and die.
As you can imagine, the alpine forget-me-not is very hardy, and first produces its vivid blue flowers in spring, all the way through until the end of summer.
It requires full sun to partial shade, and has a compact growth habit, only getting to a maximum of 8 inches tall.
Myosotis arvensis ‘Field Forget-me-not’
The field forget-me-not, or Myosotis arvensis, comes from both Asia and Europe, though it has naturalized through many parts of the world.
It comes in perennial, biennial, and annual forms, meaning there is a type for every garden imaginable. These flowers are often found in fields, hence the name, and usually only come in blue.
When not in bloom, you can recognize them by the basal leaves, and the height of the plant itself can range anywhere from 4 to 16 inches.
The seeds of the field forget-me-not are famed for being ‘patient’, where if no light gets to them, they can still stay viable for about 30 years until they get the right conditions to germinate.
Myosotis discolor ‘Changing Forget-me-not’
The changing forget-me-not comes in both perennial and annual varieties, the height ranging anywhere from a petite 10 centimeters to 50 centimeters.
If you’re looking for a carpeting forget-me-not, this is not the one for you. The plant produces elongated stems, and the leaves are typically oblong or lance in shape, covered in tiny hair.
This particular forget-me-not gets its name from the changing color of the flowers. These forget-me-nots start off creamy-yellow, shifting to pink as they get older, and maturing to a vivid blue.
Myosotis laxa ‘Tufted Forget-me-not’
Also known as the Bay forget-me-not, this lovely species can be naturally found in North America, but it has spread and naturalized across the whole Northern Hemisphere, which is a testament to the way it can adapt.
The tufted forget-me-not needs wetter soil in order to thrive, often found in wetlands, lining rivers and streams.
The flowers produced on a tufted forget-me-not come in blue, red, and purple, usually in compact clusters.
Myosotis macrosperma ‘Largeseed Forget-me-not’
The largeseed forget-me-not is an annual native to North America. You can easily recognize it by the fine down that appears on the bright green leaves and buds, and the brilliant-white flowers it produces in spring.
You’ll frequently find it in forests and prairies, where the soil is high in nutrients, and it will regularly regrow in disturbed areas.
Myosotis monroi ‘Monro’s Forget-me-not’
This is a species of forget-me-not only found in New Zealand, where it is fairly unusual to see. The name translates as ‘mouse-eared’, and flowers are bright yellow.
Myosotis ramosissima ‘Early Forget-me-not’
One of the more compact species of forget-me-not, Myosotis ramosissima or the early forget-me-not grows to a maximum height of 5cm.
It flowers from April, and these blooms only typically last until June. The life of the plant is fairly short-lived as an annual, but these plants aren’t to be underestimated.
While they look small, plant a lot of them in groups, and you’ll soon see a sea of perfect color in true blue.
Myosotis scorpioides ‘True Forget-me-not’
Also known as the water forget-me-not, this is a perennial species of forget-me-not.
As you can imagine, this specific species likes water, so you’ll find it growing in marshes, along riversides, lake shores, and generally anywhere that’s classed as a wetland area.
But it will also quite happily grow in garden soil, as long as you keep it well watered.
The flowers grow in clusters, forming five petals per flower. The plant itself gets to a maximum of 10 inches high.
Myosotis stricta ‘Strict Forget-me-not’
The strict forget-me-not comes from the Eurasia continent, but it is found in other parts of the world too, such as North America.
This is an annual variety, featuring fine hair on the foliage, and pale blue flowers. It can grow anywhere from 2 to 8 inches tall, depending on the conditions.
Myosotis sylvatica ‘Woodland Forget-me-not’
If you’d prefer a perennial species, the woodland forget-me-not is one you cannot go wrong with. It needs well-draining soil, and the more sunlight you give it, the more flowers it will produce.
Flowers come in pink, white, or blue, usually with white or yellow centers. It’s also a magnet for pollinators when it appears in mid-spring onwards.
How To Grow Forget-me-nots
As forget-me-nots are wildflowers, they generally take care of themselves. However, there are a few things that you need to get right, before you leave them to their own devices.
Soil and Position
Most forget-me-nots like moist soil, but as you can see from above, the exact amount of moisture depends on the species.
You can grow forget-me-nots in very dry weather as well as extremely wet weather, and all varieties of forget-me-nots need at least partial sun to survive. They will also thrive in full sun.
One of the great traits of forget-me-nots is that they are very disease-resistant, and you probably already have some growing in your garden, though they might not be where you expect.
They are also very easy to grow from seed, and you don’t even need to do this in a greenhouse. Simply put the seeds straight into the container or bed where you want them to grow, but beware that they will spread and self-seed to other areas.
If you don’t like the sound of this, simply pull up any forget-me-nots where you don’t want them.
Watering and Fertilizing
The beauty about forget-me-nots is that you don’t have to worry about watering them as much as you do with other types of plants.
Because they are wildflowers, they can mostly look after themselves, until the weather has a prolonged dry spell, and then it’s worth giving them a good soak.
Refrain from watering them again until the soil has dried out.
When it comes to feeding forget-me-nots, this isn’t really necessary, unless the soil is particularly poor and the forget-me-nots are just starting to flower.
Feeding them with an all-purpose, diluted fertilizer will help promote flower growth, but it’s not essential.
Forget-me-nots Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to plant Forget-me-nots?
If you’re sowing forget-me-nots from seed, do so after any risk of frost has passed, usually at the end of spring, or very early into summer.
Sow the seeds directly into the soil, leaving some room between each.
You can also buy forget-me-nots as plug plants or mature specimens, in which case you should follow the instructions from the retailer, as it depends on the species you’re buying, and how old the plant is.
Where can I buy Forget-me-not flowers?
Forget-me-nots are readily available from anywhere that sells plants and flowers, or seeds.
Just make sure you keep in mind that forget-me-nots will spread, though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you can simply pull up any that you don’t want.
Why won’t my Forget-me-nots flower?
It largely depends on the type, as some species of forget-me-nots flower at different times. Some are biennials, which means they focus all of their development on their roots, shoots, stems and leaves in the first year, and flowers in the second.
If you’ve been a little too enthusiastic about feeding them, this can convince them not to flower, instead putting all of that extra energy into growing foliage rather than flowers.
Most forget-me-nots prefer poor soil, so you can always replant them into containers.
Do you deadhead forget-me-nots?
You can deadhead forget-me-nots if you like, but only the spent flower heads. This helps keep the appearance of the plant neater, and can encourage more flowers.
Are forget-me-nots outdoor or indoor plants?
They are both. Largely, they do better as outside plants, but you can pot them up and bring them inside for a single season to brighten up your home.