The Confection Series nemesias are low-growing plants that are perfect containers and borders at the front of the garden.
The blue as can be flowers of this member of the Confection Series, like most nemesias, have an appealing light fragrance.
Description 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.
Location Nemesia strumosa and N. versicolor are both native to South Africa where they grow in sandy, scrubby, often disturbed, situations in a temperate climate.
Culture 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 encountered.
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 Inc, respectively.