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How to Grow Chinese Forget-Me-Not — Cynoglossum

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Chinese forget-me-not, botanical name Cynoglossum, bears pendents of sky-blue, sometimes white, or pale pink flowers in late summer. Chinese-forget-me-not is a slow-growing upright and somewhat bushy annual or biennial.

Cynoglossums include about 55 species of annuals, biennials, and short-lived perennials. The sprays of small tubular to funnel-shaped flowers resemble forget-me-nots.Cynoglossums often have hairy or bristly leaves and stems.

Place Cynoglossum midway in the flower bed or border.

Cynoglossum amabile, Chinese Forget-me-not

Get to know Cynoglossum

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 2 to 9
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Height and width: 18 to 30 inches (45-76cm) tall; 10 to 20 inches (25-50cm) wide
  • Foliage: Narrowly lance-shaped to oblong or ovate leaves; foliage is soft, hairy and grayish greem
  • Flowers: Short, tubular corolla and 5 widely spreading lobes in a star shape in one-sided terminal cymes
  • Flower colors: Blue, pink, or white
  • Bloom time: Late spring or early summer
  • Uses: Add to flower borders
  • Common name: Chinese Forget-Me-Not
  • Botanical name: Cynoglossum species
  • Family: Boraginaceae
  • Origin: Rocky slopes in temperate regions and tropical uplands

Where to plant Cynoglossum

  • Grow Cynoglossum in full or light shade.
  • Plant in average to rich well-drained soil.

Cynoglossum uses

  • Use Cynoglossum as a cool accent among early-blooming warm-colored annuals such as orange Dimorphotheca and pink or rose Dianthus.
Chinese-forget-me-not, Cynoglossum
Chinese-forget-me-not, Cynoglossum

When to plant Cynoglossum

  • Set outdoors in early spring in Zones 2-7; plant in fall in Zones 8-9.
  • Start seed indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost in spring; set transplants in the garden after the last frost.

Planting and spacing Cynoglossum

  • Space Cynoglossum 10 to 20 inches (25-50cm) apart.
  • Sow seed 1/8 inch deep in potting mix in six-packs; sow seed outdoors in evenly prepared soil.

How to water and feed Cynoglossum

  • Keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Do not fertilize Cynoglossum.

Cynoglossum care

  • Trim away spent blooms to promote more blooms.
  • Pull plants out of the garden when they finish blooming at the end of summer.
  • The plant will reseed freely if left in the garden after bloom time. Volunteer seedlings can become a nuisance.

Cynoglossum pests and diseases

  • Cynoglossum is prone to mildew, especially if not well watered.

Cynoglossum propagation

  • Seeds germinate in 7 to 14 days at 68°F (20°C).

Cynoglossum varieties to grow

  • Cynoglossum amabile: Grows 18 to 24 inches (45-61cm) tall; loose sprays of blue, pink, or white flowers; gray-green, lance-shaped leaves; cultivars include ‘Firmament’ is a stocky variety that is less prone to flopping.
  • C. nervosum: Grows to 36 inches (91cm) tall; intense blue flowers in open sprays; clump-forming perennial.
  • C. officinale: Biennial grows to 18 inches tall and 36 inches wide; sprays of dark

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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