Dictionary of Flowers: Nemesia

Amazing-looking orchid-like Nemesia. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Scyrene and Flickr

Amazing-looking orchid-like Nemesia. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Scyrene and Flickr

  • Nemesia 
  • Common name: nemesia
  • Family:   Scrophulariaceae 
  • Category: annual
  • Height: 7" to 12"
  • Width: 7" to 12"
  • Sun/part shade
  • Blooms:  late spring to early fall
  • Growth habit: mounding. Used as a filler in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: fertile, evenly moist, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers
  • Garden uses: containers, hanging basket, bedding plant, mixed border, rockery, houseplant
  • Diseases: botrytis
  • Pests: aphids, thrips

A small garden annual, nemesia hybrids have become popular bedding and container plants.

Native to South Africa, nemesia has glossy, small lance shaped leaves and bears flowers in clusters that can be white, yellow, pink, coral or purple.

It grows best in cooler weather zones, but it doesn't tolerate frost. Nemesia can be overwintered indoors.

Nemesia starts are widely available in nurseries during spring. It performs best when grown in fertile soil or good quality potting mix.

If planting on beds, add compost to the planting site and mix with the existing soil. It prefers a sunny position in the garden, but it can grow in part shade.

Nemesia prefers cooler nights and can stop performing well during the hottest part of the summer. It requires evenly moist soil.

Plants grown in containers might need to be watered daily during summer months. Apply a bloom boosting fertilizer every other week during spring and summer.

Deadheading individual flowers is not necessary; it's easier to remove the spent flowering stem when all the flowers on it die. Pinching back helps the plant stay compact and mounded.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Nemesia is easy to start from seed. Six weeks before the last frost date, plant seed in moist starting mix about one eight inch deep.

If kept at about but not higher than 65F, nemesia germinates in one to three weeks. When seedlings emerge, move to an area that receives good light.

Water from below, as it is prone to damp-off. Harden off and transplant to their permanent position in the garden when all danger of frost has passed.

Pinch the plants when first planted to help them stay bushy. Softwood cuttings can be taken in spring.

Take non-flowering cuttings, about four to five inches long, remove bottom leaves and plant in moist potting mix. Keep humidity high by placing pots in a plastic bag. Roots should form in about two weeks.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Though not very prone to disease, botrytis can affect nemesia. Remove all affected parts and treat with a fungicide. If aphids or thrips become problems, treat with insecticidal soap.

Popular varieties:

  • Nemesia hybrid 'Sunsatia' series - they handle heat better than other nemesia varieties. Good for early spring containers. Good range of flower colors.
  • Nemesia hybrid 'Safari' series - blooms profusely in cooler temperatures. Flower color can be white, purple or purple-pink
  • Nemesia hybrid 'Compact Innocence' series - flowers can be pink or white and they are slightly scented

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Full List of Dictionary of Flowers Entries

Annuals For Containers

Perennials For Containers

Go from Nemesia to the Dictionary of Flowers

More great ideas for Container Gardening!

Leave Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.