The petite, sky-blue flowers of forget-me-nots have charmed gardeners for ages. Also available in delicate pink or white, the blossoms are suspended by wiry stems above crinkled, heart-shaped leaves of forest green. The plants form a groundcover six to twelve inches high and two feet wide. Even though the species is native to Europe, it has naturalized in North America to the extent that the forget-me-not is the state flower of Alaska.
While the plants are hardy from USDA zones 4 to 8, they may be perennial, biennial, or even annuals. In any case, forget-me-nots reseed abundantly and will renew themselves indefinitely provided their needs are met. Naturally growing along streams or at the edge of ponds, this woodland species prefers cool, damp conditions. Soil should be rich in humus, so dig in plenty of organic matter before planting. Plants do best in the shade, especially as the weather warms; intense high-altitude sunlight will burn leaves.
Forget-me-nots bloom at about the same time as mid-season tulips, and make a beautiful underplanting that will hide the bulbs’ fading foliage. Naturalize them in woodland gardens, under trees, and in any informal garden that receives regular watering.
Article and photo by Leslie Holzmann, Certified Colorado Gardener.