Nemesias are spectacular in cool, maritime areas or mountain gardens where nights remain cool throughout summer. In other places, enjoy them early since they fade in the hot, humid days of summer. They are originally from South Africa. They resemble snapdragons and linaria, to which they're related.
Description of nemesia: Nemesias grow from 1 to 2 feet tall, with sparsely branched plants. They grow erect, with the flowers carried in large clusters at the top. There's a wide color range, including yellow, orange, brown, pink, red, and lavender-blue.
Growing nemesia: Nemesias like fertile, well-drained soil and prefer full sun, although they will tolerate partial shade. Transplant started plants after the last frost date. Space them 6 inches apart. Pinch the tips of seedlings to increase branching.
Propagating nemesia: By seed. Sow seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date. Seeds germinate in 7 to 14 days at 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In areas with cool, dry summers, seeds can be sown outdoors as soon as the ground can be worked for later bloom that will continue until fall.
Uses for nemesia: Use them for edgings, in rock gardens and walls, and for borders. They're splendid container plants and make good cut flowers, too.
Nemesia related species: Nemesia versicolor is a similar, more compact species. It has a variety of colors including truer blues. Blue Gem is a very compact variety growing to 10 inches high with blue flowers. Nemesia caerulea has several selections in true blue, lavender, and white.
Nemesia related varieties: Carnival is a mixture of colors on plants that grow up to 2 feet tall. Tapestry, in addition to a wide range of colors, has a good balance of blue and white. Fire King is a scarlet-flowered variety. St. George is white and deep red bicolor.
Scientific name for nemesia: Nemesia strumosa
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