Nemesia Strumosa is an Annual Summerflower Plant
Although nemesias like sunlight, they have a strong dislike of very hot weather. The plants will begin to wilt and, if the warm soil surrounding the roots are dries up, the plant will collapse altogether. You should therefore find an airy position for them and make sure that the soil in pots and other containers never dries up entirely. If you bear this tip in mind, things can hardly go wrong. The small plants are on sale at markets and garden centers as early as May. They are often sold in the same packs in which they were sown, as the roots of seedlings cannot tolerate much in the way of damage. They were sown in greenhouses more than three months prior to being sold. If you want to sow them yourself, you may opt for early flowering. In that case, you should sow indoors in February-March; the temperature for germination is 68 °F. The seeds may be covered lightly. Sow directly in small pots, or prick them out as soon as they are manageable. In that way, you will prevent damage to their roots. After the last frost, they should be planted out with their rootballs intact and pre-soaked.
You can make things easy for yourself by sowing directly in the garden from the end of April and thinning the seedlings when they have come up. In that case, they will not flower until July. If they threaten to stop flowering, cut them back hard and give them some fertilizer. They will then start flowering again and may go on until early autumn. The individual flowers are ‘A-l’A in wide on plants 8-12 in high.
Nemesia strumosa ‘Fire King’ forms compact little tufts of light green with, above them, striking red flowers with orange and black in their throats.
Nemesia strumosa ‘National Ensign’ was known over a century ago, but was subsequently forgotten. Now it has rightly been revived to provide a cheerful note in the garden. The flowers are strikingly bicolored -red at the top, with a white bottom half. Very similar plants are marketed under the following names: Nemesia strumosa ‘Aurora,’ Nemesia strumosa ‘Danish Flag,’ Nemesia strumosa ‘Mello Red and White,’ and Nemesia strumosa ‘Red and White.’ Nemesia strumosa ‘Orange Prince’ bear a profusion of orange flowers.
How to Grow Nemesia Strumosa:
- Buy healthy, green plants with no signs of wilting or disease. Plants should be stocky with plenty of leaves. It’s a plus if they don’t have any flowers since that means that they’ll divert their early energy into root development, creating healthier plants in the long run.
- Choose a spot with full sun to very light shade and average, well-drained soil. If you’re growing nemesia over the winter, plant it where it will receive protection from north and west winds.
- Plant 4- to 10-inches apart, depending on the variety. Check the label for directions.
- Keep soil evenly moist.
- Fertilize once or twice during the growing season.
- Pinch or trim off spent flowers to promote bushier plants and flowering.
- Discard plants once they’re felled by heavy frost or get ratty at season’s end.