Nemesia – Nemesia strumosa

Delicate, funnel-shaped flowers in a wide range of glowing colours continue through summer, making this a popular patio plant. Nemesia originated in South Africa and Nemesia strumosa is the most commonly grown species. Plants can be up to 60cm (2ft) tall, but those usually grown are compact and about 20-30cm (8-12in). They have pale green, coarsely toothed leaves.

Flowers and flowering

Flowers are funnel-shaped and often spotted or bearded. They can be yellow, orange, scarlet, white, blue, lilac and pink, and will flower through summer.

Varieties

Nemesia strumosa ‘Tapestry’, about 25cm (10in), comes in a huge range of colours, including blues and white.

N.s. ‘Carnival’ 23-30cm (9-12in) is a mixed variety; ‘Funfair’ concentrates on scarlet, pink, tangerine, flame gold and crimson. The flowers of ‘Fire King’ are all scarlet and N. versicolor’Blue Gem’ grows to a height of 20cm (8in), producing a mass of blue flowers.Nemesia - Nemesia strumosa

Looking after your plant

Sow seeds thinly indoors in March or April and provide with some warmth. Prick out as soon as the first proper leaves appear. Water regularly and keep at an even temperature. Harden off gradually and put outside in late May.

Encourage flowering of plants by deadheading them.

Pests And Diseases

Seedlings wilt and die. This plant needs some care in the early stages. Lack of water, draught or changes in temperature will create problems.

Treatment: Check plants regularly and keep them watered. Allow some drying out of the top of the compost before rewatering but don’t allow to dry out completely. Keep temperatures even.

PLANT CARE

Nemesia are annuals and are easy to grow from seed, provided they are cared for properly at the seedling stage. Pinch out the growing centres of your plants to encourage branching and deadhead to promote a longer flowering period.

  • Potting: Use a good soil-based potting compost with added leaf-mould when planting in boxes and tubs and a regular seed compost for sowing seeds.
  • Water Nemesia plentifully but allow some drying out of the surface of the compost before rewatering. In sunny weather water plants in pots daily.
  • Feeding: Use a standard liquid fertilizer every two weeks or add garden compost or manure when planting out.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: This is a plant that is best placed in full sun but it will also tolerate light shade.
  • Temperature: Normal summer temperatures are fine for Nemesia but it will not tolerate frost. Seeds can be sown in early autumn to provide indoor winter flowering plants. Keep these at a minimum of 13°C (55°F).

Buying Tips

  • Buy seeds in winter or spring from seed catalogues and garden centres. Bedding plants are also available in spring from nurseries and garden centres.
  • Check that seeds are packaged for the current season. Choose healthy-looking, bushy plants.
  • This is an annual to grow from seed each year.

These small, summer-flowering plants, with their trumpet- shaped heads in almost every colour, create a wonderful splash of colour when massed on the patio.

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