Native to Oregon and California, the Baby Blue Eye flower (Nemophila Menziesii) is a charming plant with lovely cornflower blue flowers. It can grow as a ground cover or allowed to climb up a trellis or spill out of a window box.
Nemophila menziesii [nee-MOF-ih-luh menz-ESS-ee-eye], is part of the Boraginaceae family of plants. Due to the soft, blue color of the flowers, the plant is commonly called baby blue eyes.
This blue flowering annual plant grows from seed and is a fast grower. The flowers pop up within six weeks of sowing the seeds.
Before adding this plant to a window box or garden, there are several tips to use to ensure optimal growth.
Baby Blue Eyes Flower Care
Size and Growth
As an annual, the plant only lasts for one year. Most gardeners and homeowners grow it from seed.
It’s a fast-growing plant but doesn’t get very big. It has thin, delicate stems and leaves. It typically only reaches about six to eight inches in height. However, it can spread.
Nemophila Menziesii is often used for ground cover, as the thin stems can quickly cover a lot of space. When the flowers bloom, the leaves and stems are almost entirely obscured.
Flowering and Fragrance
The flowers are the main reason to grow this plant. It produces large cornflower blue flowers with a black spot in the middle.
There are two other varieties of this plant, with slightly different flowers. The Alba variety produces white flowers while the Marginata has creamy white petals with purple spots.
When the seeds are sown in early spring, the plant flowers all summer. The flowers don’t produce a noticeable fragrance, but they are large and colorful.
Light and Temperature
Baby blue eyes is an annual that won’t last through the winter in some areas. It’s best suited for USDA hardiness zones 2 to 10.
In the warmer regions, the seeds can be sown in late summer for flowers during the winter.
Full sun to partial shade is best when grown outdoors. This plant can also survive in shaded areas where it only gets a few hours of sun per day.
As the plant is not very tall, it’s rarely grown indoors. However, if you choose to place it inside, avoid giving it direct sunlight.
North, east, and west-facing windows should offer more than enough sun to keep the plant alive throughout the year.
Watering and Feeding
Baby blue eyes need plenty of water during active growth. During germination and the first six weeks of the plant’s life, water frequently.
While fertilizer isn’t necessary, it can be added to the soil before sowing the seeds.
After the plant blooms, check the soil. The plant still needs water, but the soil shouldn’t get saturated. When the flowers die, there is no longer a need to keep watering the plant.
Soil and Transplanting
Well-drained soil is needed for growing baby blue eyes. When using a window box or planter, ensure that there are drainage holes. The plant is susceptible to disease from overwatering.
Transplanting is only needed when moving seedlings from a sowing box to the permanent home. Caution needs to be used when transplanting, as the plant has delicate roots.
Always leave soil on the roots and avoid disturbing the roots as much as you can.
Maintenance and Grooming
Grooming is not needed. The plant grows from seed, flowers, and then dies. At the end of the season, you can pull the plant and clean up the dead foliage.
How to Propagate Baby Blue Eyes Plants
Propagation is only possible with seeds. However, it can be difficult to obtain seeds directly from the plant.
TIP: After the plant blooms, you can cut several flowers and allow them to dry. When the flowers are dry, you may be able to obtain some seeds.
Baby Blue Eyes Pests and Diseases
Diseases and pests are rarely problems for this annual plant. It doesn’t live long enough to attract any major threats.
While it’s an easy plant to grow, there are two issues to pay attention to. Avoid overwatering of the plant. If the leaves get too wet, they may start to die.
When grown near mildew-prone plants, baby blue eyes may develop powdery mildew. The mildew can’t be removed, but the plant can. Always remove sick plants to avoid letting the problem spread to other plants.
Suggested Baby Blue Nemophila Plant Uses
Nemophila Menziesii is grown from seed and suited for a variety of uses. Grow it in a window box or hanging basket to add more color to a porch or patio.
It can also be used for ground cover. When used in a garden bed, consider pairing it with taller plants, such as tulips.
Besides adding more dimension to the garden bed, baby blue eyes help hide the tulip bulbs.