Omphalodes, navelwort – like a forget-me-not for shade!

Sunset lighting up an omphalodes cappadocica flower

Omphalodes is a cute perennial with broad, bright green leaves. When it blooms, it’s dotted with graceful lapis-blue flowers.

Omphalodes cappadocica facts

NameOmphalodes cappadocica
Family – Boraginaceae
Type – perennial

Bearing – crawling mound
Height – around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm)
Planting density – 4 to 6 plants per sq. yard (m²)

Exposure – shade to part shade
Soil – any type, but with high levels of humus
Flowering – April, May

Ideal for shade beds, the cute flowers of the Omphalodes cappadocica are a spitting image of forget-me-not.

Planting Omphalodes cappadocica

Omphalodes revels in soil that contains lots of organic material.

  • Amend the soil with compost, soil mix or manure.
  • After that, mix it up well to make sure it’s very loose and airy.
  • Last step is simply to plant your Omphalodes with a density of 4 to 6 plants to a square yard (m²).

If you want to fill the area up visually right from the start, go for 8 plants instead.

When growing in pots, follow the same steps. However, pour about two inches (5 cm) of clay pebbles or gravel at the bottom of the pot to make sure drainage is perfect.

Caring forOmphalodes cappadocica

Care for Omphalodes cappadocica is simpleYoung specimens have to stay cool, so you have to ensure constant moisture and watering over the first years. Once it’s properly settled in, though, Omphalodes becomes very drought-resistant.

In Spring, remember to top-up nutrients with fresh compost or soil mix. Spread it along the surface, and rake the soil lightly. If you’re growing Omphalodes in a container, plan a repotting session every 2 to 3 years to renew the soil. In other years, add a bit of nitrogen-rich fertilizer in Spring. For Fall, complement with phosphorus (P) fertilizer instead.

Multiplying Omphalodes

Clump division is quick and easy, and it’ll give you the best results, too.

  • Step one is to pull the clump out. Step two is to slice the clump in half with a sharp spade.
  • Step three, the final step, is to plant them back in the ground as recommended above.

You can divide your plants in Spring or in Fall. Again, it’s important to check that it gets enough water after the planting.

Diseases and pests

When Spring comes along, slugs and snails are the only threats to Omphalodes. They devour young shoots and keep the plant from developing normally.

Landscaping and pairing

Omphalodes cappadocica is excellent both in a pot and in flower beds. Just the right choice for ground cover at the foot of a tree or shrub! Indeed, it doesn’t fear crowding from weeds and other plants, and quickly takes control of its allotted space. Naturally, it also pairs perfectly well with other shade plants such as Bergenia, Hosta, ferns, etc.

Smart tip about Omphalodes navelwort

This plant loves rich soil, so try to topdress it with rich compost at least once a year.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Forest sunset by sultanov-rinat ★ under © CC BY-NC 4.0
Young clump forming up by Alexey P. Seregin ★ under © CC BY-NC 4.0