Summer forget-me-not, or Cape forget-me-not, a South African native, has flowers that resemble forget-me-nots -- resulting in anchusa's common names. Flowers with a bright, true blue color are a rarity for the summer garden. For sheer intensity of color, anchusa matches or exceeds every other blue available. A biennial, it is most often grown as an annual.
: Clouds of flowers cover the dwarf plants that grow 12 to 18 inches tall and 10 inches in diameter. Flowers are tiny and held on stems above the plant. Branches are rather top-heavy. A pink and white form is not widely available.
: Anchusa grows best where summers are cool. In hot areas of the country, they do best in spring or fall bloom, although hot days followed by cool nights suit their needs. They perform best in full sun, but will grow in partial shade on open, well-drained soil. Do not fertilize. Bloom will appear in flushes.
When flowering diminishes, shear back to 6 inches to encourage repeat bloom that will take about 3 weeks. Repeat for copious bloom until frost. In mild winter areas, anchusas can be started the summer or fall before and grown outdoors over the winter for early flowering. Elsewhere, sow seeds outdoors several weeks before the last frost, or start in pots indoors and transplant outside after frost danger has passed.
: By seed. Germinates in 10 days at 60 degrees F.
: A splendid source of blue in the garden, use anchusa wherever you want to soften the strident tones of hot colors such as orange and yellow. It combines well with white. Because summer forget-me-not is compact, use it as an edging for beds and borders.
Summer forget-me-not, Cape forget-me-not arieties: Blue Angel is 10 inches tall, and Blue Bird grows to 18 inches. Both form compact mounds.
Summer forget-me-Not, Cape forget-me-not scientific name: Anchusa capensis