Do not forget me
The European tradition traces the meaning of this flower to an Austrian legend, according to which one day two lovers, while strolling along the Danube exchanging promises and tenderness, were fascinated by the large quantity of blue flowers, which were carried by the current. The young man, in an attempt to collect some of these flowers for his beloved, was swallowed by the waters, shouting "Never forget me!".
The value since then attributed to the flower is that of fidelity and eternal love.
The flower commonly called "forget me not" (but also, in popular language, celestial talc, mouse ears or wild vanilla) belongs to the boraginaceae family and to the genus myosotis.
It is a rather large genus, including about 50 plant species from Europe, Asia, Africa and some even from Australia and New Zealand. The subspecies are also very numerous.
At the horticultural level, its annual-biennial version is the most widespread: it can in fact be successfully used in flower beds, borders and rock gardens, but also as a pot plant.
It also finds uses as a cut flower, especially in natural compositions, as a supporting element. It is highly appreciated for its particular color, for the abundance and duration of flowering and for the little care it requires.
Some varieties have been selected for these uses, mainly hybrids deriving from myosotis sylvatica: in its spontaneous state it is a biennial plant, bushy and compact, with thin, pointed, soft leaves and a light down. The inflorescences are composed of very small groups of bright blue flowers, with a yellow center, slightly scented. It is widespread throughout Europe, especially in woodland habitats and with rich and slightly humid soils. It can flower well and continuously from early spring until summer.
The breeders, knowing the popularity of the plant, have tried to create resistant cultivars with particular characteristics.
Currently on the market the most common are:
|Blue ball||Indigo blue||15-20 cm||Very suitable for rock gardens, pots or borders|
|Rose pink||Light pink||20 cm||For a rock garden or border|
|ultramarine||Very dark blue with contrasting yellow center||15||For rock garden, pot or border|
|Sunrise||White with a clear yellow center||20-25||For border or vase|
Sow Forget me not
To have an early flowering it is absolutely advisable to sow between summer and autumn, with average temperatures between 15 and 18 ° C. In this way, the following spring we will have well-developed plants capable of early and abundant flowering.
The ideal is to use alveolar trays (with rather large alveoli) or 5 cm side jars.
We will use a rather rich compost (soil for flowering plants is fine), mixing it with a little sand to improve drainage. We distribute two seeds for each alveolus (three for the jars, creating a triangle). We cover with a light layer of soil (or, even better, if we have it, agricultural vermiculite).
We place the jars in a container, always keeping a finger of water at the bottom. We cover with a transparent plastic film and place a shaded, but bright area. It is important to steam the surface often, but also remember to air it daily for at least half an hour. In this way we will prevent the onset of mold.
Germination occurs on average in 7-15 days. We keep for each jar only the plant that seems most robust to us. Once we have reached the third true leaf we can begin to periodically trim the stems in order to obtain well-branched and branched specimens and, consequently, stronger and capable of flowering in a more abundant way.
Planting Don't forget me
Towards October we can plant the seedlings permanently (both those sown by us, and those eventually purchased) spacing them about 20-30 cm from each other.
Let's dig small holes a little larger and deeper than the jar: put a generous handful of manure and a teaspoon of slow release granular fertilizer for flowering plants on the bottom.
We cover with the extracted soil and compress well so that the plant is very stable; we water abundantly. Then we check that the ground level is optimal and eventually add more.
To preserve them, especially if we live in an area characterized by cold winters, it will be good to cover the base with a thick mulch made from leaves, straw and a few handfuls of mature manure.
However, planting can also be done in early spring.
Cultivation Forget me not
Growing myosotis sylvatica hybrids is not difficult at all: they require relatively little care, especially if well positioned.
Type of terrain
Forget-me-not must be grown in rich soils capable of always retaining a slight humidity. Slightly clayey soils with abundant organic matter are therefore ideal.
Exhibition Forget me not
They can be grown in full sun or partial shade. The latter option, however, is the one that guarantees a longer flowering and allows for a considerable reduction in water interventions. It is absolutely recommended in the Center-South and near the sea.
Irrigation and fertilization
As we said, to always have flowering and healthy seedlings it is important to always guarantee a good degree of humidity at the level of the roots. It is therefore, especially from mid-April, very important to always keep the soil under control and, in case of drought, to intervene with light but frequent irrigation.
To obtain abundant, colorful and prolonged blooms it is important to distribute weekly a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants in which the amount of potassium is prevalent over nitrogen.
To keep the plants viable for a long time and to prolong flowering as much as possible, it is good to regularly engage in cleaning the plants from withered flower stems. It is always necessary to intervene before seed production begins, as this stops the production of new buds.
We can let the plant go to seed when we approach summer: in this way we will be able to collect them and use them to obtain new specimens for the following year (remember, however, that, as for all cultivars and hybrids, similarity is absolutely not guaranteed with the originals).
Parasites and diseases
Myosotis fear powdery mildew and slugs
Powdery mildew also known as "white mal", it spreads easily in spring and autumn, with temperatures around 20 ° and alternating between sun and rain. A light white powder appears on the stems, near the flower heads and on the leaves. It can heavily damage flowering and lead to early death of the seedling. To avoid its appearance, you must first of all avoid wetting the subjects during irrigations. If the spring turns out to be particularly humid, we can prevent it by using products based on wettable sulfur or sodium bicarbonate.
Here is a simple recipe to use for foliar sprays (especially for preventive purposes)
- 10 grams of baking soda
- 4 liters of water
- 40 ml of liquid soap
If powdery mildew is already present, it will be necessary to eliminate the affected parts and distribute a specific curative and eradicating product.
Slugs they can be removed by spreading a little ash on the ground around our plants, which hinders their path. Otherwise we can build beer-based traps that attract snails elsewhere.
In extreme cases, especially if there are strong and continuous night rains, we resort to specific snail killers, but paying the utmost attention if there are children or pets.
Forget-me-not: Growing in pots Forget-me-not
Myosotis are very suitable for container cultivation, provided this is quite deep, has good drainage and the soil is suitable.
We preferably choose a terracotta vase, which guarantees greater transpiration capacity. The minimum diameter for a specimen to live and grow well is 12 cm.
We create a thick draining layer on the bottom based on gravel, glass marbles or expanded clay. We extract the seedling and free the bottom (especially the roots were too dense and were "turning"). Let's insert it in the new container and block it with soil. What is available on the market for flowering plants is generally a bit too light and peaty and, in the long run, will not be able to guarantee the right degree of humidity at the roots. The ideal is to mix 30 to 50% of garden soil with it, then add a little sand and mature manure. We can also include a very small amount of granular fertilizer for flowering plants.
We compress well and irrigate abundantly.
Potted seedlings grow best if placed in a slightly shaded area, especially if we live in the Center-South or in coastal areas.
If kept in a container, the seedlings will almost certainly require rather frequent interventions. Let's be sure of the degree of humidity of the soil by inserting a finger deep inside. Generally, from April to June it is necessary to intervene at least twice a week.
However, we avoid the use of saucers which could cause stagnant water and consequently root rot.
Once a week, we distribute a liquid fertilizer for flowering plants, diluted in the irrigation water. A good solution to have a constant supply of nutrients can be the use of a stick fertilizer for flowering plants to be inserted into the soil. Their lifespan is generally three months and they are therefore capable of nourishing the plant throughout its bud production cycle.