How to Grow Forget Me Nots from Seed: A Comprehensive Guide
Forget Me Nots, with their delicate blue flowers and lush foliage, can make any garden an enchanting space. Originally from Northern Europe, these hardy and adaptable perennials are loved by gardeners worldwide. If you’re dreaming of growing these beautiful flowers but not quite sure where to start, you’re in the right place. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of growing Forget Me Nots from seed with simple, step-by-step instructions.
The Basics of Forget Me Nots
The botanical name for Forget Me Nots is Myosotis, which stands for ‘mouse’s ear’— a reference to the shape of the plant’s leaves. This species thrives in a range of conditions but prefers a spot with partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. They are flowering plants, and their blooms often appear in charming clusters of bright blue.
Primarily, there are two types of Forget Me Nots: the perennial varieties (Myosotis sylvatica) and biennial varieties (Myosotis scorpioides). The primary difference is in their blooming cycle and lifespan. Biennials will flower in their second year and then die, while perennials can live for many years.
Starting the Seeds Indoor
Forget Me Not seeds can be started inside or directly sown into the garden. Starting the seeds indoors about 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost of spring gives you a head start. To do this, fill a tray with a seed-starting or sterile potting mix. Moisten the mix, then scatter the seeds on top, lightly covering them with more mix. Remember, Forget Me Not seeds need light to germinate, so don’t bury them too deep.
Place the tray in a spot that receives plenty of sunlight. Mist the surface gently to keep it moist but be careful not to overwater. With a consistent temperature of about 70°F (21°C), you can expect the seeds to germinate within two weeks.
Transplanting Seedlings to the Garden
Once your seedlings have 2-3 true leaves and the danger of frost has passed, they’re ready for the great outdoors. Before transplanting, acclimate the seedlings to outdoor conditions by hardening them off over a week. Begin by leaving the seedlings outside for a few hours each day, gradually increasing the amount of time day by day.
To plant, dig a hole deep enough for the seedling’s roots. Space the plants 12-18 inches apart. Gently place the seedling in the hole and backfill with soil. Water thoroughly after planting, then continue to water regularly, especially during dry periods.
Caring for Your Forget Me Nots
Caring for Forget Me Nots isn’t too laborious. These plants benefit from the application of a balanced liquid fertilizer once in spring and again in midsummer. Regular watering is crucial, especially in dry weather. However, be careful not to oversaturate the soil, as this can contribute to root rot.
Deadheading is another essential task, which involves removing faded or dead flowers. This encourages new blooms, keeping your plants looking fresh and vibrant. At the end of the season, allow some flowers to remain on the plant to seed for next year.
Managing Pests and Diseases
Forget Me Nots are generally low-maintenance plants but can occasionally fall prey to aphids and slugs. These pests can be controlled using insecticidal soap or other organic methods. For slugs, a simple beer trap or diatomaceous earth can do wonders.
One common disease affecting Forget Me Nots is powdery mildew. If you see white, powdery spots on the leaves, consider applying a fungicide or alternating watering schedules to avoid excess moisture. Removing and disposing of affected leaves can also help stop the spread of the disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I grow Forget Me Nots in containers?
Yes, Forget Me Nots can be grown in containers. Be sure to provide well-draining soil, adequate sunlight, and consistent watering for best results.
2. Why aren’t my Forget Me Not seeds germinating?
The seeds require light to germinate. If they are buried too deep or the soil surface is not moist enough, the seeds may fail to germinate.
3. How long do Forget Me Nots bloom?
Forget Me Nots generally bloom from late spring to early summer. However, with proper care and under ideal conditions, they can bloom until fall.