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The Forget-Me-Not is one of the most beautiful and popular flowers planted in gardens around the world. Native to Europe, this plant is regarded as a weed in some parts of the world and an ornamental plant in others.
If you’re looking for a flowering plant that’s extremely easy to grow and requires very low maintenance, the Forget-Me-Not is an excellent choice. Here’s how to grow and maintain your very own Forget-Me-Nots.
Forget-Me-Nots are (Myosotis) a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae. The name is derived from the Greek word ‘mysotis’ meaning “mouse ear” and it was given this name because its foliage is said to resemble the ear of a mouse. There are over 50 different species of forget-me-nots around the world, including annuals, biennials, and perennials.
The best time of the year to see forget-me-not flowers blooming is between the months of May and October. The true forget-me-not is typically blue in color with a yellow center exploding from its stem. However, these flowers are also found in various other colors including white and pink.
Here are some of the most popular types of forget-me-not plants found in gardens around the world:
1.Myosotis sylvatica: Myosotis sylvatica, or woodland forget-me-not, is a species native to Europe. This plant has blue blooms and flowers in spring.
2. Myosotis alpestris: Also known as Alpine forget-me-not, this plant is an herbaceous perennial plant. Its flower is the local flower of the city of Westmoreland (U.K) and the state flower of Alaska. The Alpine forget-me-not grows well in open areas and on high cliffs. It’s found throughout the slopes of the Himalayas at altitudes of 3000-4,300 meters, as it has the ability to tolerate cold weather. Like many other types of forget-me-nots, this flower is edible, provided that no pesticides have been used to grow the plant.
3. Myosotis abyssinia: An annual variety of the forget-me-not, the Mysotis abyssinia is commonly found in many African countries including Ethiopia, Sudan, Bioko, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Cameroon.
4. Myosotis scorpioides: The true forget-me-not or water forget-me-not, this plant is native to Europe and Asia as well as some parts of North America and Britain. It is sometimes considered a harmful weed because of how rapidly it grows. It’s usually found growing in wet or humid place such as swamps, ponds, streams, ditches, and rivers.
5. Myosotis laxa: Myosotis laxa is known by several names, including tufted forget-me-not, bay forget-me-not, and small-flower forget-me-not. It grows in both wet and dry habitats, as well as in very shallow water.
6. Myosotis pansa: also called Waitakere forget-me-not, this plant has spoon-shaped leaves in various sizes and beautiful, vibrant blue flowers.
7. Myosotis discolor: Native to Europe, this species can also be found throughout North America. This is a hardy plant that can grow in various habitats and is commonly found growing on roadsides.
When growing forget-me-nots, there are several important factors to take into consideration including soil, sunlight, and fertilizing. Let’s take a look:
How to Grow Forget-Me-Nots
Forget-me-nots can grow in almost any type of soil since it’s a hardy plant. However, well-drained, moist soil is ideal.
These plants require at least 5 to 8 hours of sunlight per day, so it’s important to make sure that they get this in order to grow well. However, when the summer is hot, place the plants somewhere in the shade. They should get indirect sunlight since direct exposure can cause the plants to burn.
As mentioned earlier, forget-me-nots thrive in moist soil. Most gardening experts suggest watering these plants at least three or four times a week during the spring and summer. Getting adequate amounts of water will help these plants to bloom at their best all through spring and summer.
When watering your forget-me-nots, remember to be careful and spray the plants from the bottom and not from the top. Spraying them from the top can hurt the blooms and cause leaf or bloom rot. To avoid this, spray the water on the soil instead.
Forget-me-nots are self-seeding plants that can also be propagated by division and stem cuttings in the summer.
Pests and Diseases
There are many different types of pests and diseases that can attack your forget-me-not plants, so it’s important to know what to do when this happens. Here’s a look at some of the most common problems you’re likely to face and how to deal with them.
This is a fungal disease that’s commonly known to affect the leaves, flowers, and stems of many plants. Early signs of gray mold include grayish-brown spots on the leaves and stems of the plant. If you notice this on your plants, you can try treating it using a fungicide you can purchase from your local garden store or even online.
Powdery mildew doesn’t kill plants, but it can affect their growth. It’s another type of fungus that can affect an extensive variety of plants. If you notice that this fungus is affecting your plants, there are several home-made remedies that you can use including the following:
- Baking soda – Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with ½ a teaspoon of liquid soap and spray your plants with this mixture.
- Milk – Dilute 1 part milk with 3 parts water and spray the plants. It’s believed that the compounds in milk combat the disease and boost the immune system of the plant at the same time.
- Potassium bicarbonate – Mix a tablespoon of this with ½ teaspoon liquid soap (remember not to use detergent) in one gallon of water. This is an excellent preventative measure, but it may not be quite enough to deal with an existing infestation.
- Neem oil – Neem oil can be used on its own to treat powdery mildew. However, you can also add it to any of the above mixtures.
- Trim and prune – If the infestation hasn’t progressed too far, try removing the diseases stems, buds, vegetables, or fruits from the plant. This can stop it from spreading further. However, if the plant is too diseased, you would most likely have to go for one of the above options or a chemical fungicide.
Forget-Me-Nots are some of the easiest plants to grow since they require minimal care. You don’t need to be an expert gardener in order to get these plants growing right. In fact, all you do need is just a few basic gardening skills and you’re good to go!
Here are some frequently asked questions about forget-me-nots:
- Do Forget-Me-Nots come back every year? These plants are very hardy and although they die in winter, they re-grow in spring.
- What do Forget-Me-Nots symbolize? The Forget-Me-Not flower symbolizes respect and true love. When given to someone, these blooms represent an eternal promise to keep that particular person in your thoughts.
- When should I plant Forget-Me-Nots seeds? If you’re sowing the seeds outdoors, do so in the months of May or June. However, if you’re sowing indoors, do it in May, June, or September.
- Do Forget-Me-Nots spread? Yes, these flowers spread easily and rapidly because of their self-seeding nature.
- What’s the story behind this flower? One of the most popular stories which explain how the Forget-Me-Not received its name was a story that originated in German mythology. According to this story, God had named all the flowers on the earth but forgot to name one particular flower. As he finished his work, he heard the little flower whispering to him, ‘Don’t forget me!’, and God said ‘This will be your name!’.
- Another story tells of two lovers who were walking by a river. Suddenly, the girl saw a beautiful flowers floating on the water and asked her lover to fetch it for her. The boy tried with all his might to fetch her the flower, but he was caught in the current and drowned. Before his last breath, he threw the flower at the girl and shouted out to her, ‘Don’t forget me!’. From then on, the flower was called the ‘forget-me-not’.
- What are Forget-Me-Nots used for? This flower is used for culinary purposes due to its edibility. It’s commonly used for garnishing and salads. It’s also used for its therapeutic properties. For example, it’s used as an astringent added to poultices to tighten wound tissues.