Chinese Forget-Me-Not Care And Characteristics

Blue Chinese Forget-me-not flowers
(Image credit: Stacy Matte)

The Chinese forget-me-not flower is a pretty plant native to Asia that is now popular around the world as an ornamental. It is considered invasive in some areas. Learn more about this species before deciding whether or not it belongs in your garden. If you choose to grow it, take care to avoid letting it spread or naturalize.

About Chinese Forget-Me-Not

Chinese forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile) is a flower native to China and Bhutan. It can be grown as a perennial or annual, depending on your region’s climate. In most places, gardeners use it as a cool weather annual. Other common names include blue showers and hound’s tongue.

The leaves of Chinese forget-me-not are grayish-green, oval, and long, and the growth habit is full and bushy. The real show, though, are the flowers. They resemble forget-me-nots and grow in spectacular sprays with multiple small blooms. The color is usually blue, but they can also be pink or white.

Chinese forget-me-not is best grown in regions without hot, dry summers. Alternatively, you can grow them in spring and again in fall. Under the right conditions, they will bloom from spring to the first frost, but they often die back and then fail to bloom in fall if the summer weather is too hot.

Good uses for Cynoglossum amabile include beds, borders, cottage gardens, meadow gardens, and in containers. It grows up to about two feet (0.6 meters) tall.

Growing Chinese Forget-Me-Nots

Cynoglossum amabile seeds are easy to find online. Chinese forget-me-nots grow easily from seeds, so this is an affordable way to cultivate them. They also continually re-seed throughout the growing season, providing months of blooms.

You can start seeds indoors and plant Cynoglossum amabile seedlings outdoors after the first frost. However, they do very well sowed directly into a bed or container outside just before the first frost.

You can also sow seeds in fall and watch Chinese forget-me-not seedlings sprout in early spring. In other words, this plant is easy to grow. It’s forgiving and grows readily no matter how you start it.

If your summers tend to be hot, put Chinese forget-me-nots in a location that gets some shade in the afternoon and plenty of morning sun. Otherwise, they are not too picky. They tolerate poor soils that drain well. The soil should stay a little moist throughout the growing season, so water when it hasn’t rained for a few days.

Chinese forget-me-not has very few problems and no real pests. Powdery mildew is a rare but possible issue. Give your plants adequate space for air circulation to avoid mildew.

Is Chinese Forget-Me-Not Invasive?

Because they re-seed so readily, some people consider Chinese forget-me-nots to be invasive. You can check with your local extension office to determine if it is invasive in your state.

In general, although Chinese forget-me-nots like to re-seed, they don’t easily escape cultivation like many other non-native plants. If you are concerned, plant your flowers well away from natural areas or grow them in containers.

Chinese forget-me-not is a pretty flower with season-long blooms that suit many kinds of gardens. Unless you garden strictly with native species, consider adding this low-maintenance plant to beds and edges.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.