This charming, old-fashioned annual has recently seen a resurgence in popularity, and for good reason. With a rainbow of colors available, nemesia makes a great addition to any cool-season garden. Breeders have had several new breakthroughs, creating plants that are much more heat tolerant with beautiful bicolor blooms and pleasant fragrance. Plant nemesia alongside your pansies in the spring and fall for added interest.
- Part Sun,
- 6 to 12 inches,
- 1 to 3 feet
- 6 to 12 inches
You would be hard pressed to find another flower with the color diversity of nemesia. Because it comes in almost every color possible (except green), you can easily find a shade suitable for any combination. Many varieties come in lovely bicolor blooms that can look quite stunning and, up close, are almost reminiscent of small orchids. With its quick growing habit, it also makes a great addition to containers and hanging baskets, as it spills nicely down the sides. Plant nemesia near seating areas to enjoy its pleasingly light fragrance.
Nemesia Care Must-Knows
Fairly low-maintenance plants, it's not too tricky to keep nemesias happy. Make sure they are planted in well-drained soils, as anything less is likely to cause plants to rot. Because of this, they are ideally suited to growing in containers with light potting mix. They also appreciate even moisture and organically rich soils. So keep your plants watered, especially during the heat of the summer, if you plan on keeping them through the fall.
For the best flower production, grow nemesias in full sun. Giving them a little afternoon shade can also help extend their blooms a little longer, as they do tend to go out of flower once night temperatures are consistently above 70 degrees. This is especially true of older varieties, which are especially sensitive to heat. If plants do begin to go out of bloom, they can become a little rangy in habit. This is the perfect time to give the plants a good shearing to shape them up, as well as encourage a fresh wave of new growth and blooms. Give them a dose of fertilizer when you cut them back to rejuvenate them.
Nemesia used to be a popular plant to use in cottage gardens and other old-fashioned settings, but it fell out of use because of its temperamental growth in warm climates. Luckily, many breeders, especially in England and Germany, recently began revamping this genus with several species. The main goal was to increase the heat tolerance of these adorable annuals, and breeders have had great success. Many recent introductions are capable of growing through the summer and blooming into the fall, especially in mild climates.
More Varieties for Nemesia
'Aromatica True Blue' nemesia
Nemesia 'Aromatica True Blue' bears fragrant soft-blue flowers on 14-inch-tall plants.
'Lemon Mist' nemesia
Nemesia 'Lemon Mist' is a recent selection with purple-and-white flowers blotched in yellow. It blooms profusely in spring and fall, and it grows 7 inches tall and wide.
'Opal Innocence' nemesia
Nemesia 'Opal Innocence' offers fragrant lavender-gray flowers during the cool seasons of spring and fall. It grows 16 inches tall and 8 inches wide.
'Serengeti Upright Purple' nemesia
Nemesia 'Serengeti Upright Purple' offers lovely purple flowers. It grows 14 inches tall.
'Safari Violet Rose' nemesia
Nemesia 'Safari Violet Rose' bears violet-pink flowers on 14-inch-tall plants.
'Serengeti Red' nemesia
Nemesia 'Serengeti Red' is an especially eye-catching selection with deep-red flowers. It grows 10 inches tall.
'Serengeti Upright Violet + White' nemesia
Nemesia 'Serengeti Upright Violet + White' offers lovely violet-purple flowers marked with white. It grows 14 inches tall.
'Serengeti Sunset' nemesia
Nemesia 'Serengeti Sunset' shows off red flowers streaked in yellow, orange, and pink. It grows 14 inches tall.
'Sunsatia Cranberry' nemesia
Nemesia 'Sunsatia Cranberry' bears bold red flowers on plants that trail to 36 inches over the side of a container or basket.
'Candy Girl' nemesia
Nemesia 'Candy Girl' bears soft-pink flowers on compact, 12-inch-tall plants.
Juicy Fruits® Kumquat nemesia
Nemesia Juicy Fruits® Kumquat features large blooms of gold, orange, and cherry red. These lightly fragrant flowers are on heat tolerant plants that don't require deadheading. Zones 9-11
Nemesia Bluebird is a wonderful blue variety with hundreds of small blooms. These plants can stand up to summer heat and bloom through the fall. Zones 9-10
'Sunsatia Pear' nemesia
Nemesia Sunsatia Pear is a frost-tolerant selection that bears white flowers marked with orange. It grows 18 inches tall.
Plant Nemesia With:
The quintessential cottage flower, pinks are treasured for their grasslike blue-green foliage and abundant starry flowers, which are often spicily fragrant. Depending on the type of pink, flowers appear in spring or summer and tend to be pink, red, white, rose, or lavender, but they come in nearly all shades except true blue. Plants range from tiny creeping groundcovers to 30-inch-tall cut flowers, which are a favorite with florists. Foliage is blue-green. Shown above: 'Firewitch' dianthus
Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around. Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color. Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch. Shown above: 'Rocket Red' snapdragon
From tiny, cheerful Johnny jump-ups to the stunning 3-inch blooms of Majestic Giant pansies, the genus Viola has a spectacular array of delightful plants for the spring garden. They're must-haves to celebrate the first days of spring since they don't mind cold weather and can even take a little snow and ice! They're pretty planted in masses in the ground, but also cherished for the early color they bring to pots, window boxes, and other containers. By summer, pansies bloom less and their foliage starts to brown. It's at this time that you'll have to be tough and tear them out and replant with warm-season annuals, such as marigolds or petunias. But that's part of their charm—they are an ephemeral celebration of spring!