Chances are that you’ve been walking down the street or through a meadow and spotted an impossibly tiny and adorable flower with shockingly violet petals.
These flowers can be found at the top of leggy stems, and they are a species of flowering plant that will bring charm to any sidewalk green space or cottage garden.
Forget me not plants are wonderful not just because they’re cute with their dainty bright blue flowers, but because they are very easy to care for, and once they are planted, they are pretty much there to stay. So keep reading to discover why the forget me not should be on your list of new garden plants for next spring!
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Introducing the Myosotis Species
Forget me not plants are members of the borage botanical family (boraginaceae), and the genus myosotis. Funnily enough, the term, myosotis, comes from the Greek word for mouse’s ear, which is in reference to the foliage shape of the plant.
There are dozens of different forget me not species that will grow as annuals (experiencing their entire life cycle within a year), biennials (experiencing their entire life cycle within two years), or perennials (continue to blossom year after year).
What do Forget Me Nots Look Like?
Forget me not flowers are known for being very tiny. They may not be very noticeable on their own, but create quite a display when they grow together.
Each individual flower is usually around only a centimetre in diameter, and is comprised of 5 sepals (type of flower petal) that have a flat faced shape to them.
Depending on the species, flowers can either a blue/gray color, a bright violet color, and sometimes a sky blue color. The blue flower will also be ordained with bright yellow center accents.
Flowers will blossom in the early spring and last until the late autumn (usually May to October). Once the snow starts to melt you are sure to see a patch of forget me nots, and they will last well after early summer.
Though the overall shape will vary from species to species, forget me not leaves are alternately arranged along their stems.
Some species may have smaller, more ovate shaped leaves (similar to that of a mouse’s ear), whereas others will have longer, lanceolate in shape leaves.
A forget me not leaf will be green on both sides. Certain species will have a leaf that is covered in small hairs, whereas other species will have bare leaves.
A forget me not plant grows from diffuse roots which give life to tall and wiry flower stems. These flower stems are usually covered in appressed hairs, and can grow anywhere from 30-90cm in height.
Alternately arranged leaves lead the eye up to the flower blossoms that occur on the ends of the flower stalks. Flowers are borne in inflorescences.
Once a forget me not flower is pollinated, the plant will produce fruit in the form of a seed pod. The seed pod is shaped like a tulip and it is borne upon the stem of the plant. Each pod contains quite a collection of flower seed.
Forget me not seeds are very easy dispersed because the seed pod has quite a sticky texture to it. This makes it easy for them to get stuck to an animals leg or to clothing. This way, seeds can be spread to far reaching places.
Where are Forget Me Not Plants Native to?
Forget me not plant species are native to many places around the world. About 60 confirmed species are native to western Eurasia, and another 40 are native to North America and South America.
Because of the production of many different cultivars, these plants have become very common in flower beds in almost all places with temperate climates. They can exist in USDA hardiness zone 5 through 9.
These tiny blue flowers can be found growing wild in moist habitats. This can be anywhere from wetlands to riverbanks, brooks and streams to lakes. Forget me nots are prosperous anywhere where there is high humidity and moisture.
What are Some Myosotis Species?
Woodland Forget Me Not (Myosotis Sylvatica)
Either the wood forget me not or the woodland forget me not, this forget me not variety is a rather short lived perennial. They are mostly native to Europe but have become naturalized elsewhere.
This variety can be identified by its hair covered leaves and stems that grow between 5 and 12 inches tall. Small pink buds open up to reveal disk shaped flowers that are sky blue in color with yellow centres.
True Forget Me Not (Myosotis Scorpioides/Myosotis Palustris)
The true forget me not is a herbaceous perennial variety flowering plant that is native to most parts of Europe and Asia, and are prolific in North America as well.
This myosotis species is also known as the water forget me not, due to the plants ability to live aquatically, or as scorpion grass due to the spiral growth habit of the flowers.
This variety is rather short with flowers that start out as pink buds and open to blue flowers with yellow centres. They are best identified by their long and narrow leaves that are covered in tiny hairs on both sides.
Alpine Forget Me Not (Myosotis Alpestris)
The alpine forget me not, being one of the more rare forget me not species, can be found growing mostly wild in the United Kingdom and in the Himalayas.
They prefer to grow in open and rocky environments in the very high mountains, and can be found growing wild at elevations up to 4,200 metres above sea level!
This herbaceous perennial plant is both the country flower of Westmorland, UK, and the state flower of Alaska!
Tufted Forget Me Not (Myosotis Laxa)
Known by several names, including the bay forget me not, the small forget me not, or the small flowered forget me not, the tufted forget me not is identifiable by its tufted growth habit.
This type of forget me not is capable of growing in many different environments including very wet areas. They’re even capable of growing in shallow pools of water! They share this feature with the water forget me not.
Field Forget Me Not (Myosotis Arvensis)
The field forget me not can grow to be either an annual species, or a short-lived perennial species.
They are most easily identified by their shorter stems that are covered is soft hairs, and their saucer-shaped flowers that are more of a grey/blue color that the common sky blue. Flowers will often be in bloom from April all the way to October.
What are the Growing Conditions of the Forget Me Not Plant?
Planting a forget me not in your rock garden, potted plant, or indoor container won’t be difficult in the slight. Gardening with myosotis species is wonderfully attainable to all gardeners, beginner or expert!
The forget me not plant can tolerate many different soil types and don’t have a preference in its overall composition.
It is more specific about the soil’s nutrient content as well as its moistness level. Incorporate your garden soil with organic compost to increase the nutrients in the soil.
The main thing to remember is that the soil should always be moist for a forget me not plant. Soil should also be well drained to prevent waterlogged soils — though there are certain species that can exist in small puddles of water as a semi aquatic plant (like m laxa!).
A forget me not plant will be happy as long as it is in an area that receives tons of natural precipitation. They are not a particularly drought tolerant plant.
The best way to gauge the proper amount of water for a plant is to simply ensure that soil is always moist. Over-watering is less of an issue than under-watering will be.
Forget me nots are not particularly sun loving plants! They definitely prefer to exist in partial shade or full shade rather than full sun.
They are capable of adapting to existing in full sun conditions, though that creates more opportunity for the soil to become dried out, which they aren’t particularly fond of.
Forget me nots do not have many temperature requirements. Perennial species can go dormant all winter long. Flowers will blossom shortly after the snow melts and will stay until well after the first frost.
Depending on the nutrient content of your self, forget me nots may or may not require fertilizer. If they live in low nutrient soil, they can be given fertilizer during their growing season.
Otherwise, if they have high nutrient soil that has been incorporated with plenty of organic compost, they won’t need fertilizing.
There are a couple ways in which a forget me not plant can be pruned, but neither are for sake of keeping a tidy growth habit.
These plants should be cut pack after the flowers have finished blossoming at the end of the season so that they can go dormant and sprout neatly the following spring.
These plants can also be deadheaded to encourage further flower blooms. Cutting just below where the inflorescence begins will encourage a new one to grow.
At the end of the day, forget me nots are truly easy to introduce and to maintain. Their intolerances aren’t really intolerances, but more like dislikes.
Remember, in order to keep this plant happy, all you have to do is make sure that it has water, and that is receives shade in the heat of the summer sun.
How are Forget Me Nots Used?
First and foremost, forget me not plants are valued as ornamental plants. It would be difficult to find a plant with a more adorable flower. They can be used as container plants, as ground cover plants, garden border plants, a complimentary plant in a rock garden, and they help create a wild look to any green space.
Traditionally, forget me not plants have been used for medicinal purposes as well. A forget me not plant would often be ground up and used to help with inflammation on minor cuts and scrapes. Make sure you do your proper research and identification before ever trying to ingest or use a plant for medicinal purposes.
Forget me nots are also important to their local wildlife ecology. The flower blossoms provide an important source of nectar in the early spring to pollinators, they are also the main food source for certain lepidopteran (butterfly and moth) species.