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How to Grow Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis Sylvatica)

By Eulalia Palomo
A woman sitting in a cottage garden with purple and blue forget me nots and peonies in the foreground.

Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica) comes back again and again ... and again, but even with this slightly invasive habit, these delicate little flowers make a sweet addition to the garden. Add this hard-to-forget flower to meadows and wildflower gardens or use it as a bedding plant. A biennial or short-lived perennial, hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, forget-me-not tends to burn out after one season, making it better suited as an annual.

Sun and Soil

Forget-me-not grows well in loamy garden soil -- alone or mixed with other flowering annuals and perennials -- making it suitable as a bedding plant, or as part of a cottage garden, wildflower garden or meadow. It also grows well in moist soil such as rain gardens or in rock gardens and rocky soil. Forget-me-not grows in full sun -- six hours of direct sun per day or more -- but likes a little shade in the afternoon. A partly shaded area -- between two and four hours of direct sun daily -- is ideal, especially in hot summer areas.


Space forget-me-not plants 5 inches apart. To create a natural-looking planting, stagger the seedlings. Rows will look stiff and formal for this plant. You can grow forget-me-not from seed or starts. When growing seeds, scatter them freely over the garden bed, then thin out the plants to a 5-inch spacing when they grow 2 to 3 inches tall. You can sow forget-me-not seeds in early spring or fall. Seedlings go in the ground in spring planted at the same depth in the soil as they were in the seed trays or cell packs.


Despite its rapid, abundant growth, forget-me-not doesn't need any fertilizer. They need about 1 inch of water each week, or enough to soak the soil 4 to 6 inches deep. If you're using a drip or irrigation system that functions in gallons, 1 inch of water is equal to 1/2 gallon for each 1 square foot.


After the first season, forget-me-not will self-seed abundantly at the end of the spring flowering period. Leave the flowers if you want these flowers growing freely in the garden and then thin them to a 5-inch-spacing once seedlings emerge the following spring. If minimizing self-seeding is important, pull up or dig out the forget-me-not plants at the end of the flowering season and throw them away; putting them in the compost bin will scatter seeds. Make sure to get the plants before the seed pods dry and turn from green to brown. Plan to replant in the spring if you want to grow this annual again.


About the Author


Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.