Forget-me-not flowers are one of the most popular flowers in the world. But have you ever stopped to think about how they got their name? What do these flowers symbolize, or how many types are there? Here you will find all the answers.
As their name suggests, forget-me-nots are often given as a way to say "I won't forget you.," but there's much more to them. If you are longing for something to brighten up your home, they certainly are a great addition to consider. You can place them anywhere in your garden, and they are sure to enhance the look and feel of the place.
The charismatic forget-me-not flowers, scientifically known as Myosotis sylvatica, are among the most beautiful and delicate flowers. They belong to the Myosotis genus, which comes from the Greek word mus and ous, which means "mouse" and "ear," respectively. The name makes sense because the leaves of the forget-me-not flower somewhat resemble mouse ears.
Let's explore more about these charming flowers.
Characteristics of Forget-Me-Not Flowers
These little blooms have a long and interesting history. They have been mentioned in the art and literature of many cultures for centuries.
Forget-me-not flowers have a number of significant features, so let’s quickly go through them. Here are some key facts about these stunning blooms:
|Botanical Name||Myosotis sylvatica|
|Common Names||Forget-me-not, woodland forget-me-not, ornamental forget-me-not|
|Mature Size||12 to 30 cm (5 to 12") tall by 15 cm (6") wide|
|Flower Color||Blue, pink, white, yellow|
|Soil Type||Moist, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, alkaline|
|Sun Exposure||Full, partial|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
Name and Symbolism
There are quite a few interesting stories about how these flowers got their name. The two mentioned here are the most popular and widely accepted.
As per the first legend, a man was once walking beside the River Danube with his lady love. They found these lovely flowers growing on an islet in the middle of the river. Despite the powerful current, he jumped into the river to get the flowers and crossed the river. However, the river's strong current got the best of him and took him along on his way back.
Before he vanished, he tossed the bouquet towards his beloved and yelled: "vergiss mein nicht," which is German for "forget me not." She wore the flowers till the day she died and never forgot the man who gave up his life for her. This story suggests that the flowers symbolize love and faithfulness for your lover.
According to another Christian legend, the flowers were created by child Jesus Christ. He was sitting on his mother's lap and wished that the next generation would get to see the beautiful eyes of his mother. He touched her eyes and waved at the ground, and a field of forget-me-nots bloomed.
In the language of flowers, forget-me-nots symbolize love, hope, memory, and even luck. However, they are also associated with:
- International Missing Children’s Day.
- Loyalty and fidelity in a relationship.
- Those who died in World War I in Newfoundland.
- Armenian Genocide Centennial in Armenia.
- Alzheimer’s Society as a symbol of memory loss.
Different Types of Forget-Me-Not Flowers
Now that you know a bit more about the history and symbolism of forget-me-not flowers let’s go through the 10 types.
Wood Forget-Me-Not Flowers
- Scientific Name: Myosotis sylvatica
- Average Height: 5” -12” tall
- Blooming Time: Mid-spring to Mid-summer
The wood forget-me-not is a perennial but short-lived flower plant primarily found in Europe and Asia. The plant prefers well-drained, moist, and organically rich soils. It needs full sun to shady areas and can grow up to 12 to 30 cm (5" -12") in height. Its flowering period is from mid-spring to early summer, and it gives bright blue or stellar pink blooms with white or yellow eyes.
These flowers are preferred as they are low-maintenance and look spectacular. Moreover, the versatility of working with gardens, banks, and edgings makes it a gardener's favorite. The leaves of a wood forget-me-not are hairy, oblong, and green-colored and can grow up to 2 to 7 cm (1-3") long. They are resilient to pets like rabbits or deers, so it wouldn't be much to look after them.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis arvensis
- Average Height: Up to 40 cm (4" to 16")
- Blooming Time: Spring and summer
The field forget-me-not is a wildflower indigenous to Europe Asia and is also found in North America. The plant can grow up to 40 cm (16") tall and has hairy elliptical or lance-shaped leaves. The flowers are funnel-shaped and corolla blue with white centers and bloom in the spring and summer months.
Despite being wildflowers, field forget-me-not are very picky about the type of soil in which they grow. They need well-drained, chalky, or sandy soils that are neutral to alkaline in nature. The seeds of these flowers have the ability to wait for up to 30 years before sprouting. They start germinating when they find their ideal growing conditions and thrive in vegetable gardens or near spotted rock surfaces.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis Ramosissima
- Average Height: Up to 25 cm (8" to 10")
- Blooming Time: Spring
Early forget-me-not flowers are an annual herb found in North America, Europe, and Asia. However, it is believed that they have originated in the extreme north region of Britain. Their flowering period is between April and June, and they grow best in meadows, rocky terrain, fields, gravel pits, and sands.
Early forget-me-nots can reach up to 25 cm (10") in height and have oblong leaves that are hairy on both sides. The flowers are five-lobed, blue or white in color with yellow centers. They require a lot of sunshine or some shade to thrive and also like well-drained, sandy soils. The flowers can fill up your yard with bright blue colors and attract bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis scorpioides
- Average Height: 15 to 30 cm (6" to 12")
- Blooming Time: Mid-summer to Fall
The water forget-me-not is an aquatic perennial prominently found in North America, Europe, and Asia. The most suitable habitats for these flowers are marshes, lakeshores, and riverbanks. They require partial to full sun exposure and grow up to 30cm (12") in wet to moist conditions.
The blooming period of mid-summer to fall gives flowers of blue and purple shade, each having five petals. The leaves are lance-shaped, smooth, and green in color. Water forget-me-not prefer wet soil but has this incredible ability to adapt to ordinary garden soil. If you keep it sufficiently moist, they will bloom properly and give you beautiful flowers in your yard, attracting butterflies.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis stricta
- Average Height: 5 to 20 cm (2" to 8")
- Blooming Time: Late Spring to Early summer
The strict forget-me-not is an annual taproot short herb native to Eurasia. It is also found in New England and North America. The flower blooms in late spring to early summer and is an excellent choice for adding color to your garden. They are also known as 'blue forget-me-not' and are among the most familiar variety. It is a common belief that the hue of blue represents love and friendship.
This small herb has linear-lanceolate leaves that are hairy, green, and can grow up to 5 to 20 cm (2 to 8”) long. These are the earliest blooming ones among the entire family of forget-me-not flowers. This plant grows in a variety of soil types, from sandy to arid and disturbed fields.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis discolor
- Average Height: 10 to 50 cm (3" to 20")
- Blooming Time: Early summer
This European native grows in various habitats and is most commonly found in western and eastern North America. They are called changing forget-me-not because they change colors throughout the blooming period. They start with a yellow or cream color when they bloom and then switch to pink and eventually become blue.
The changing forget-me-not is a perennial or annual growing herb and grows best in disturbed areas but can also grow wonderfully in your home garden. With a tall, erect stem, it touches a height of 50 cm (20"). It produces leaves measuring about 4 cm (11/2"), which are oblong or lance-shaped. Furthermore, the leaves are covered with soft, small, straight hairs.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis alpestris
- Average Height: 0.02 cm (0.008")
- Blooming Time: Spring
The alpine forget-me-not is a perennial native to the mountains of central and southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. You can find it in alpine meadows, pastures, and rocky areas, and it is also famous for the name "Scorpion Grass." The flower was entitled to be the state flower of Alaska in 1949 and is also the county flower of Westmorland.
This flower is tiny, measuring only 0.02 cm (0.008”) in height, with a blooming springtime. The flowers are blue with white around the edge and have five petals. The leaves are lance-shaped and are alternatively attached to the stem. Alpine thrives in full sun to partial shade and grows well in most types of soils as long as they are well-drained.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis decumbens
- Average Height: 15 to 40 cm (6" to16")
- Blooming Time: Mid-summer
The Lapland forget-me-not is a native of Northern Finland and belongs to the Myosotis genus. It is a perennial herb, and its blooming period starts mid-summer till early autumn. These flowers prefer cold, moist places. Stream banks, broad-leaved forests, birch woodlands, and springs are preferred habitats. They will spread freshness in your garden and light up the area.
The Lapland forget-me-not reaches a height of up to 15 to 40 cm (6” to16”). The flowers are wheel-shaped with a corolla sapphire and a funnel-shaped mouth with little humps. They grow best in partial sunlight but can stand full sunlight. However, if you are planting them in your yard, make sure they are not exposed to the sun all the time.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis laxa
- Average Height: 10 to 40 cm (4" to 16")
- Blooming Time: Late spring
The tufted forget-me-not is exclusive of the entire Northern Hemisphere and is compatible with several areas but prefers wet environments. They also have alternative names including 'bay forget-me-not' and 'small flower forget-me-not.' You can find them in ponds, stream banks, and several seepages in North America.
The plant grows up to a height of 10 to 40 cm (4” to 16”) and has lobed and unlobed leaves. They usually bloom in late spring and produce flowers ranging from red, purple, blue, and red. These flowers are called racemes as they grow in clusters. If you want to grow them in your garden, you need to keep the soil moist year-round.
- Scientific Name: Myosotis latifolia
- Average Height: Up to 50 cm (19")
- Blooming Time: Late winters to late summers
Broadleaf forget-me-not is a native of northwestern Africa and is a perennial herb. In the United States, you can find them along the Pacific coastline of north and central California. The plants reach up to 50 cm (19") in height, and the stems have a woody base covered with rough white hair.
These plants are compatible with several kinds of habitats like disturbed areas, moist soils, and shaded areas. They produce oval-shaped leaves and are the largest at the woody base of the stem. The inflorescence appears to be an elongated cluster initially but opens up more later in the season. Their blooming season starts late winters, and they produce tabular-shaped flowers.
How to Spot the True Forget-Me-Not Flowers?
All the forget-me-not flowers you see may not be real - in fact, there is a chance you might be looking at a fake one. So how do you differentiate between the two? Let's unravel all your knots about the forget-me-nots!
There are two types of forget-me-not plants. The first one is annual, and it's the proper form. In contrast, the second one is a perennial and is a "false" forget-me-not.
They both appear the same, but they belong to different genera. The annual forget-me-not plant is in the genera Myosotis, while the perennial plant is in Brunnera. You can tell the two types apart from their primary distinction: the leaves. The perennial type has glossy leaves, while the annual plant has hairy ones.
Gardening Tips to Grow forget-Me-Not
If you're looking to add an ethos of blue to your garden, forget-me-nots are a perfect choice. They aren't a very picky plant, making them easy to care for. However, you can do much better at keeping them in the best condition with the following tips for growing forget-me-not flowers:
- They prefer a place where they get full or partial shade. Plant them in the sun, where they will get plenty of light in the morning and shade in the afternoon, particularly if your region has hot summers.
- These plants can thrive in various soil types, as long as it is moist and well-drained. You can try mixing about 5 - 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) of well-aged compost or manure before planting to support the growth further.
- Do soil moisture check-ups regularly and water to a depth of two inches if it's dry. Also, check to see if the soil is acidic or basic. It should be 5.6 to 7.
- Fertilize your plant once a month during the spring and summer as these are the primary blooming times. This should be done as a priority if the leaves are yellowing.
- You can grow them in containers, too, provided that you maintain the soil's moisture.
- There's a reason they are primarily found on river banks or in the wild. These plants need plenty of water, so make sure you keep them hydrated.
So, there you have it, the types of forget-me-not flowers explained along with the history and symbolism. You also got a good chunk of gardening tips for planting and maintaining the flowers.
Forget-me-nots are a lovely low-maintenance flower; with a little bit of care, you can enjoy these in your garden all season long. Whether you live in a dry or a wet climate area, there's a forget-me-not flower type that will work for you. They can spread the essence of heaven in your yard and brighten up any gloomy day.
Now that you know all about the forget-me-nots, it's time to go out and plant some in your garden!