Forget me not or Myosotis sylvatica is a wonderful little self-sowing biennial that will delight you for the first year or five in your garden.
The name Myosotis comes from the Greek mys meaning “mouse” and ous meaning “ear” or mouse-ear to describe the shape of the leaf.
There are 50 (give or take) species of this plant and several are fairly common in gardens.
Myosotis or forget-me-not
M. sylvatica or Common Forget Me Not
The most commonly found plant (pictured) is M. sylvatica. It is a normally found in damp woodland and meadow sites so do grow it with shade to semi-shade in decently damp soils. It doesn’t do well when allowed to dry out under shrubs or trees.
It is a biennial, meaning it will grow leaves and the plant the first year from seed but will flower the second. Once it has flowered and set seed, the plant will die. Luckily it sets copious numbers of seed and so rarely becomes extinct in gardens in which it is comfortable.
In fact, it can become a bit of a nuisance weed, spreading everywhere
Luckily, it is a seed-setting plant so excess numbers can be easily weeded (no underground runners to deal with on this plant).
You can easily start your own by sprinkling seed in a damp shaded area or obtaining a one year plant from a local garden shop. Blooming the second year, it will provide enough seed for an army of volunteer seedlings and from this moment on, your only task is to contain it’s enthusiasm for producing more plants.
Commonly Available Varieties
- Ultramarine – a deep indigo
- White Ball – white
- Rose – a rose-pink flower
Specialist nurseries may offer
- ‘Sapphire’ – flowers bright sapphire blue
- ”Semperflorens’ flowers sky blue but dwarfer than species
- ”Thuringen’ flowers sky blue
M. scorpoides or Water Forget Me Not
This plant is usually found in marshes and wetlands so it is a perfect little plant for the waterside or bog garden.
Do not attempt to grow it in the regular garden (been there – killed that one) as it really does require constant moisture to survive. Appears similar to the common blue species
M. alpestris or Alpine Forget Me Not
This seed is a little harder to find but it does grow nicely in semi-shaded rock gardens and is a tougher plant for poor soils.