Historically, these small flowers were grown in remembrance of lost loved ones.
The dainty little flowers of forget-me-nots are sure to put a smile on your face while they bloom from spring into summer. They most commonly are found in a beautiful, clear, sky-blue shade, but also come in pale purple, pink, and white. Forget-me-nots make a pretty addition to informal garden borders and mixed containers. They'll easily reseed, so make sure to plant them where you don't mind if they spread a bit.
Forget-me-nots are one of the few plants that can boast a true blue color. But the adorable and prolific blooms also come in light pink, purple, and even a clean white, and yellow centers brighten every shade. The curving stalks supporting the blooms give forget-me-nots one of their common names: scorpion grass. The flowers emerge in early to late spring and continue until summer heat slows the plants down. Forget-me-nots look sweet with a number of different plants: See suggested companion plants below.
Forget-Me-Not Care Must-Knows
Forget-me-nots are easy-to-grow plants, requiring little maintenance. Commonly grown from seed, forget-me-nots are often treated as biennals or short-lived perennials. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden in the fall for early-spring blooms. The self-sowers may become invasive unless spread is controlled by deadheading. Forget-me-nots form dense mats of foliage by producing above-ground runners. The foliage is deer resistant and resembles rounded mouse ears.
Related: Spring Planting Partners
One of the biggest killers of forget-me-nots is summer heat and humidity. In the South especially, summers tend to kill off these charming plants. In this case, treat forget-me-nots as cool-season annuals or look for heat-tolerant varieties and species. Forget-me-nots prefer full sun, but where the summers are hot, they are better placed where they get some afternoon shade. Forget-me-nots also prefer consistently moist soil. Some species can actually grow in standing water and perform well as marginal water plants.
Forget-Me-Not Through the Ages
As you would imagine, this plant has many historical references and meanings tied closely to its name. Forget-me-not was commonly grown in gardens to remember lost loved ones. Other times, people would wear sprays of these delicate blossoms as a sign of their faithfulness to a loved one. The flower has also been taken as a sign of remembrance for fallen soldiers in wars and other significant events.
More Varieties of Forget-Me-Not
Myosotis sylvatica blooms with clusters of fragrant, clear blue or white flowers with yellow eyes in early spring. Its hairy leaves may reach 4 inches long. Zones 5-9
Forget-Me-Not Companion Plants
Wild ginger is a workhorse of a groundcover, spreading readily with beautifully glossy, slightly heart-shape leaves. It must have shade and moist but well-drained soil to thrive, but with the right conditions this native plant is indispensable, doing well where many other plants wouldn't. In spring it bears purplish-maroon bell-shape blooms mostly hidden in the foliage.
Perfect for cottage and woodland gardens, old-fashioned columbines are available in almost every color of the rainbow. The intricate little flowers look almost like folded paper lanterns and come in a combination of red, peach, and yellow but also blues, whites, pure yellows, and pinks. Columbine thrives in sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil. Plants tend to be short-lived but self-seed readily, often creating natural hybrids with other nearby columbines. If you want to prevent self-seeding, deadhead plants after bloom.
It's easy to see the origin of bleeding heart's common name when you get a look at its heart-shape pink or white blooms. They grow best in partial to full shade in moist, well-drained soil. Some types bloom only in spring, and others bloom spring, summer, and fall provided temperatures aren't too high.
It's hard to find bright color for shade, so it's puzzling why brightly colored corydalis isn't more widely planted. It's an outstanding shade plant. Blooms are small but they appear in clusters. Leaves look similar to those of fringe-leaf bleeding heart. Plants self-seed readily, but excess seedlings are easy to remove. Provide the plant with moist, organic soil for best growth.