True forget-me-not – info, planting, care and tips

True forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris)
True forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris)

The true forget-me-not beautifies every garden pond. Here are some tips for planting and caring for it.

Profile of true forget-me-not:

Scientific name: Myosotis palustris;s yn. Myosotis palustris

Plant family: borage family (Boraginaceae)

Other names: water forget-me-not

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: May to September

Location: sunny to partially shady

Soil quality: sandy to loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: pond planting, natural garden, water garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of true forget-me-not

Plant order, origin and occurrence

The true forget-me-not (Myosotis palustris) belongs to the genus forget-me-nots (Myosotis) and therefore to the borage family (Boraginaceae). Its original area of distribution extends from Europe to Western Asia. Like its relatives, the flower inspires with delicate sky-blue flowers and a long flowering period. Unlike these, however, it thrives only on permanently damp to wet soils and is therefore a welcome guest in the water garden.

Characteristics of true forget-me-not


The perennial, hardy aquatic plant grows in a cushion-like manner and spreads quickly over a large area. The true forget-me-not grows between 20 and 40 centimeters (8 and 16 in) high and almost as wide.


The true forget-me-not is wintergreen. The elongated-lanceolate leaves are slightly hairy and come off directly from the stems without a stalk.


The tiny, delicate bowl-shaped flowers are sky blue with a yellow or white center and bloom from May to August – depending on the weather even until September. They stand in loose clusters and appear in large numbers. The plant is a nectar plant for the violet copper (Lycaena bright).


After the bloom inconspicuous nuts form. The plant has a strong tendency to self-seed.

True forget-me-not – cultivation and care


The true forget-me-not needs an always moist, loamy ground, but tolerates also a short-term flooding of a few cm of water-depth. The place should be chosen so that it is protected from the blazing midday sun.


As an aquatic plant, it requires a permanently moist to wet habitat with humus rich, sandy-clayey soil. If it is planted directly into the water, a water depth of 10 centimeters (4 in) must not be exceeded.


Since the true forget-me-not grows strongly in width, it is important to keep a distance of 30 centimeters (12 in) when planting. 5 to 10 plants are enough to plant one square meter (10 sq ft).


The only thing Myosotis palustris cannot do without is water. If the true forget-me-not is planted in a swamp or bog bed, the soil must therefore be permanently moist. In long summers or in the absence of precipitation, you should water extensively by hand. If the water level in the garden pond drops, it must also be watered abundantly. If spreading is undesirable, you should cut back the plant close to the ground after flowering.


For targeted propagation, the rootstock of the plant can be divided in the spring, or the stocks can be thinned out a little in this way.


Apart from dividing, the true forget-me-not can also be propagated well by sowing.

Diseases and pests

At suitable locations the plant has no problems with plant diseases or pests.


The true forget-me-not is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F. There is no need for any protection for overwintering.

Use in the garden

The bank zone of the garden pond can be permanently beautified with the help of the true forget-me-not.

One puts it together best in a small group into a flat, moist hollow in proximity to cotton grass (Eriophorum), yellow iris (Iris pseudacorus), marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), arrowhead (Sagittaria) or Himalayan meadow primrose (Primula rosea), then it comes to the best effect.

It forms colonies and can be kept well together with the yellow monkeyflower (Mimulus luteus), which with its golden yellow flowers forms a beautiful contrast to the blue flowering true forget-me-not.


Besides the species, the variety Myosotis palustris ‘Icepearl’ is highly recommended: It blooms in pure white.

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