Common Names: nemesia
Family: Scrophulariaceae (figwort Family)
Annual Attracts Butterflies Can be Grown in Containers Flowers
Nemesia strumosa is a bushy cool weather annual that gets up to 2 ft
(60 cm) tall and, branching mostly from the base, gets up to a foot
(30 cm) across. The leaves are opposite, linear to lance shaped, and
about 1.5 in (4 cm) long. The margins may be toothed or entire. The
flowers are borne in showy terminal racemes to 4 in (10 cm) high.
Each flower is about a half inch (1.5 cm) across. The corollas can
be pink, red, yellow, orange, blue, lavender or white. They have
yellow throats and are often bicolored. Most of the plants in
cultivation are cultivars, and there are many named. ‘Danish Flag’
has flowers that are red and white; ‘Grandiflora’ has larger
flowers; flowers in the Carnival Series are dwarf; those in the
Sparkler Series include bi- and tri-colors. Some of the commercially
available cultivars may in fact be hybrids between N. strumosa and
N. versicolor. The nemesia Compacta Series and Confection Series are
relatively new introductions noteworthy for their long blooming
times, tolerance of hot summers and mild fragrance.
Nemesia strumosa and N. versicolor are both native to South Africa
where they grow in sandy, scrubby, often disturbed, situations in a
Light: Grow nemesia in full sun. A light, dappled shade is
recommended for areas with hot summers.
Moisture: Nemesia likes a moist, but well drained soil, and does
best in slightly acidic soils. Water faithfully in hot, dry weather.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 9-11 Nemesias flower best where summer days
are not too hot and nights are fairly cool. Considered “cool weather
annuals”, they do not tolerate frosts or temperatures much above
85°F (29°C). In frost free areas they are grown in winter. .
Propagation: Nemesia typically is propagated by seed, even the
cultivars and named series. Seeds usually are started indoors 6-8
weeks before last frost as you would peppers and tomatoes. The
little plants must be handled with care as the stems are easily
broken. Cuttings of fast growing young tips (without flowers or
flower buds) are easy to root, especially under mist. See Warnings,
below for restrictions on propagation.
This white nemesia, N. fruticans, is a perennial that is usually
grown as an annual. Unlike many of the popular low-growing N.
strumosa selections, it holds its flowers on erect stems that are
about a foot tall.
Nemesias are fast growing annuals, commonly used in mixed flower
beds and borders where they are planted out in spring. They are easy
to grow and they bloom soon after planting out. Nemesia makes a nice
container plant for the patio or deck. Use some in a hanging basket
with other pretty annuals. Pinch back the tips of new growth to
promote bushiness, and cut back more aggressively after the first
blooming to encourage a second flush of flowers. Nemesia flowers are
short lived, and not suitable for cutting.
Create a riot of color in a bright sunny flower bed or border with
nemesia and other colorful annuals such as violets, pansies,
poppies, cosmos, petunias or verbenas. Mix and match in a hanging
basket, window box or a patio planter.
There are some 50 species in the genus Nemesia, all from
temperate South Africa. Some are perennials and some are sub-shrubs.
Few are commonly found in cultivation. N. foetens,
a shrubby perennial, is perhaps the one most likely to be
It is illegal to propagate the Nemesia 'Confection' and 'Aromatica'
series of hybrids without specific permission from the holders of
the plant patents: Sygenta Flowers, Inc., and Ball Horticultural