1309 Myosotis sylvaticaCommon Names: forget-me-not,garden forget-me-not,woodland forget-me-not Family: Boraginaceae (borage Family)
Forget-me-not is a short lived herbaceous perennial that usually is grown as a biennial, flowering in its second (and final) season of growth. This is a delicate little plant that grows in a much branched upright clump 6-15 in (15-45 cm) tall but only around 6 in (15 cm) across. It has alternate leaves that are covered with soft fuzzy hairs. The leaves are grayish green, up to 4 in (10 cm) long, and oblong to lance shaped. In spring and early summer, forget-me-nots produce dainty 5-petaled blue (rarely white) flowers with yellow centers. The flowers are clustered in profuse cymes. (A cyme is a rounded or flat topped inflorescence that is branched, with each branch ending in a single flower, the oldest at the center.) Individual forget-me-not flowers are around 3/8 in (9 mm) across and the cymes are up to 6 in (15 cm) across.
Numerous cultivars have been introduced. The Ball Series of cultivars are compact and globe shaped, around 6 in (15 cm) tall, and include ‘Blue Ball’ and ‘Snowball’. ‘Carmine King’ is taller than the species and has rose-red flowers. ‘Ultramarine’ is smaller with dark blue flowers. ‘Compacta’ is dense and short. ‘Fischeri’ is a dwarf with bluish pink (I call it sky-blue pink) flowers. ‘Victoria Rose’ has rose-pink flowers and ‘Music’ has large brilliant blue flowers.
Forget-me-not, Myosotis sylvatica, is native to temperate Europe and western Asia where it grows in moist meadows and woodland openings.
Forget-me-nots perform best in poorer soils without a lot of nutrients, lest they become too leggy and flowering suffers. Light: Grow forget-me-nots in partial shade in the hotter climates and full sun with some shade at midday elsewhere. They can take full sun in the most northern areas. Moisture: Forget-me-nots like a consistently moist, but well drained soil. In humid southern summers, they can suffer from powdery mildew and other diseases if not kept well thinned. Hardiness: USDA Zones 3 - 8 . Propagation: Forget-me-nots can be propagated by division of the clumps and this should be done every year or two since the plants are short lived. Seed can be sown in containers in winter for later transplanting to the garden, where the plants will bloom their first year. Plants from seed sown outdoors in spring or summer will bear flowers in the following growing season, and occasionally in the fall of their first year. Forget-me-nots usually self-seed, and although individuals are short lived, you may not need to replant a patch. Gardeners who need to keep forget-me-nots in check can pinch off spent flowers before the seeds mature.
Forget-me-nots traditionally are grown in borders and flower beds in moist soils with partial shade. They go well with annuals such as pansies, poppies, wild columbines and larkspurs, and can be interplanted with springtime bulbs like tulips and daffodils. Forget-me-nots can be expected to persist in the garden by self-seeding, and are thus well suited for naturalizing in informal situations, and use as a groundcover under trees or shrubs. Forget-me-nots are used in rock gardens, and are an excellent choice for rain gardens since they tolerate wet soil. They are sometimes grown in window boxes and other containers. Forget-me-nots are popular with butterflies, but apparently not white-tailed deer.
The legend goes that a Medieval knight with a bouquet of flowers for his lady, fell into the river and implored that she not forget him as he sunk from the weight of his armor. It is said that those who wear a bouquet of forget-me-nots will never be forgotten by their lovers. The botanical name Myosotis is from the Latin for mouse ear, a reference to the appearance of the furry leaves. There are more than 50 species of Myosotis native to temperate zones on all continents, but only about a dozen are regularly cultivated.
It has escaped cultivation and become established in much of the northern half of the U.S. and southern Canada. Forget-me-not is considered invasive in some locations, and officially listed as such in Wisconsin.
Steve Christman 5/3/18