Everything You Need to Know About the Nemesia Plant


Nemesia is a small bedding plant that is often used as a ground cover or for edging. It is also attractive when grown in hanging planters as it cascades down the sides of the containers. It looks much like a smaller version of an orchid, but it’s easier to grow with fewer restrictions. Nemesia comes in a large array of colors that make it a popular choice for most landscaping situations. We’ve prepared a guide that includes everything you need to know about the Nemesia plant and how to grow it successfully.

What is the Nemesia plant?

According to The Spruce, Nemesia is an annual plant that is native to the African continent. The botanical name is Scrophulariaceae. The plant is used for various landscaping applications including rock gardens, hanging baskets, edging, and as a ground cover. Nemesia is hardy in zones 2-10. It grows to a height between 10 to 24 inches at full maturity. It requires partial to full sun areas in rich sandy soil with a pH level between 5.5 to 7.5. The plants bloom twice annually, in Spring and Summer with various shades of white, red, pink, blue, and orange. This plant can be encouraged to bloom during the summer. This is a topic we address later in the guide.

How many species of Nemesia exist?

Nemesia exists in several varieties with N. strumosa and N. caerulea the most popular. The latter has blooms of an inch in size. and is an annual with blue or white flowers that reach a foot in height. N. caerulea is a perennial reaching two feet in height with half-inch blooms in blue, white, pink, and purple most commonly. The two most popular species are N. strumosa and N. caerulea. Most varieties of Nemesia can grow to about a foot in height, but some can be as tall as two feet. The versatile plants also come in a wide range of colors, and some are even bi-colored. The N. strumosa variety is a true annual that produces one-inch blue or white flowers and grows up to a foot tall, while N. caerulea is a more tender perennial that grows up to about a half-inch and blooms in purple, pink, blue, and white on plants that grow up to two feet.

Two less common varieties of Nemesia

Masterclass explains that Nemesia Aromatica True Blue is a tall variety, less common, but also popular. It reaches up to 14 inches at maturity featuring flowers that are bluish-purple color. the blooms are among the most fragrant of all varieties. Nemesia Lemon Mist is a type of the latter featuring yellow splotches with flowers that are purplish-white in appearance. Some other varieties of Nemesia may reach up to 3 feet in height and may spread from 6 to 12 inches in width.

Appearance of Nemesia

The Nemesia resembles lobelia, orchid, and tiny snapdragons. The plants bloom profusely when outdoor temperatures are mild. Caution is required as the flowers obscure other types of foliage nearby. The plant spreads easily and can take over a flowerbed if not maintained and cut back.

How to grow Nemesia

Nemesia plants are best started indoors. The ideal time to plant them in potted containers is eight weeks before the last frost is anticipated in your region. The soil temperature should range from 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant seeds in peat pots with loamy soil. Vermiculite is a good choice. It’s best to use peat pots that can be planted in the ground so the roots are not disturbed during the transplanting process. Lightly cover seeds with soil and keep the soil moist until seeds sprout in five to ten days. You can either allow the seedlings to grow without maintenance or pinch the growth tips to encourage the plants to bush out.

When to transplant seedlings

The goal is to grow Nemesia to an age of 8 weeks for the most success in transplanting. Leaving them in containers past this point decreases the survival rate. They’re best when transplanted at 8 weeks as older plants are more easily shocked. It’s best to plant them before flower buds appear for the best results.

Planting Nemesia

Choose a garden area with partial shade to full sun to plant Nemesia seedlings. The plants should be placed in soil that has good drainage and rich soil. All danger of frost should be over before planting. Space the plants between four to six inches apart. They will quickly grow and fill in the gaps. After the transplanting is complete, give them a good watering and add a layer of organic mulch. This can help protect the roots from extreme heat or cold as spring temperatures tend to fluctuate.

Maintenance of the Nemesia plant

Nemesia is not high maintenance plants, but they do require watering. Don’t overwater, but do keep the soil lightly moist. Nemesia bloom in Spring and Summer. When the plants stop blooming, you can cut them back by a third to stimulate another blooming phase.

Monitor the moisture

Nemesias are picky plants, but they do require a balance of moisture. These plants require moist soil to thrive, but overwatering will compromise the health of the plant. Nemesia are pronte to stem rot. Too much water could kill them. It’s fine to allow the plants to dry out a bit, but not too much.

Summer impacts on Nemesia

Growing Nemesia in hot climates is more difficult. They do not tolerate summer heat as well as some other plants and they are likely to die back when temperatures climb. Direct exposure to the hot bright sun can cause heat damage to Nemesia plants, such as sunburn on the leaves and the blooms. This is why it’s best to plant them in a location that receives afternoon shade and some protection from temperature and light extremes. Some varieties of Nemesia perform remarkably well as winter annuals in areas that do not get frost.

Do Nemesias require fertilizer?

Nemesia plants can benefit from the use of fertilizer but you should avoid overdoing it. It’s recommended that you choose a fertilizer that is after soluble and use it twice a month during the active growing phase of development. You may also use a slow-release type fertilizer just once in the spring. You can over-fertilize Nemesia, so don’t overdo it. By following these simple guidelines, your plants will have all the extra nutrition they need to grow and thrive. It’s worth noting that fertilizer will result in new leaf growth. It may cause a brief cessation in blooming when the plants shift focus to its leaf development instead of on blooms.

Can you use Nemesia in pots?

Nemesia makes wonderful potted plants. Choose a pot that is medium-sized to give the plant room to grow and expand. The potting soil should contain vermiculite or perlite with a little sand with a slightly acidic pH. Choose a container that has good drainage. It’s best to start the plants from seeds as larger Nemesia do not transplant well. The roots are finicky when disturbed. Keep the soil moist but do not overwater. Place in a location that receives partial sunlight with mild temperatures. A hot window that gets baked by the sun is not the best growing environment for Nemesia.

Can Nemesia be propagated?

You can propagate Nemesia in two ways. You may take cuttings and dip them in root hormone, then allow them to take root in moist potting soil. Nemesia plants mature and set seeds if you do not disturb the spent blooms. They will automatically reseed, forming new plants. Nemesia is also a good plant for garden boxes.

Unique varieties of Nemesia

There are three unique varieties of Nemesia that are popular for landscaping. Berries and Cream bloom in blues and whites. Strawberry Ripple is strawberry pink shades to red. Blueberry Ripple Nemesia is a deep purple color. As Nemesia grows in its popularity with gardeners, we will see more new varieties emerge.

Other facts about Nemesia plants

Better Homes and Gardens points out that the foliage for Nemisia plants is blue-green. Nemesia flowers bloom in nearly all colors and color combinations. The one exception is green. Some varieties feature bicolor flowers. The plants grow quickly and make exceptional ground covers. The plants spill over hanging baskets for cascades of color. The fragrance of Nemesia is light but aromatic. This plant is becoming more popular with gardeners and landscapers.

New varieties of Nemesia are emerging.

If you’re planning to plant Nemesia, it is a versatile plant that comes in numerous varieties with choices of plant height and width in a choice of color options. It’s wise to check your hardiness zone for climate averages before choosing the type of Nemesia to plant for your garden or hanging baskets. Nemesia comes in so many different kinds. It’s much easier to find one that is ideally suited for your growing zone. You may also find them in the colors that best complement your landscaping or home decor.

New varieties of Nemesia

Nemesia is a versatile plant with a popularity that has created a demand for new varieties. Scientists are working hard to meet the gardening and landscaping needs of the population. People from all parts of the world are discovering the benefits of Nemesia plants. European horticulturists use advanced technology in genetics to develop hardier plants in a range of new colors and color combinations. These ag professionals are creating new varieties with exciting new colors and color combinations, such as the Opal Innocence Nemesia with lavender-gray flowers with outstanding fragrance. This new variety grows to 16 inches in height and 8-inches in width. Other new Nemesia variants include the Serengeti Upright Purple, the Safari Violet Rose, the Serengeti Red, and the Serengeti Sunset that produces red blooms with streaks of yellow, pink, and orange. A variety known to trail over hanging baskets for 36 inches is the Sunsatia Cranberry Nemesia. A patented variety called the juicy Fruits Kumquat Nemesia has larger blooms in cherry red, orange, and gold with a mild fragrance. This plant is more heat tolerant than other varieties. We can see that the Nemsia plant is currently undergoing an evolution. For this, we give thanks to agricultural science. New technologies help scientists produce strong and healthier plants. New varieties withstand various climates and growing zones. Although there are four main species of plants, scientists are creating hundreds of sub-species. It behooves us to check back and research to find the latest developments.

Why should we know about Nemesia varieties?

It’s essential to know which varieties of the Nemesia plant will work the best for your growing zone. Some of the newer Nemesia varieties are genetically modified to produce better results in different regions of the globe. Consumers in warm climates are happy with the more heat-tolerant kinds. They’re easier to grow and will give the bloom types that are the most suitable for your situation.

Final thoughts

Nemesia is a versatile plant that comes in four main species with myriads of differing varieties. There is a Nemesia plant developed for practically any growing zone on the planet. These fragrant and ornate plants produce vibrant and numerous blooms and work well for various gardening and landscaping situations. By following the tips we’ve provided in our guide to the Nemesia plant, your plants will thrive and produce beautiful blooms in nearly any color of your choice to complement your garden or landscape and add beauty to your environment. Nemesia is not difficult to maintain, but you will need to keep the growth in check. You need to monitor growth to prevent them from taking over your garden space. They’re easy to prune. You can encourage them to bloom with lovely blossoms from Spring to Fall in most growing zones. We hope that you find this guide helpful in pointing you in the right direction for adding Nemesia plants to your landscaping projects.

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