All of the nemesias shown in this blog were photographed at the California Spring Trials (CAST) recently and represent some spectacular colors and introductions in this “cool season” annual. As I prepared this blog, I realized I had blogged on this plant over 2 years ago and have dutifully included some of the descriptive text in this same blog. Nemesias are native to South Africa with many different species naturally occurring in that region. Cultivated varieties are typically hybrids and you can see here the wonderful color range offered by this heavily flowering plant. The flowers, while quite small, come out in abundance and if you look closely, they have an upper lobe and lower lobe. Some describe them as “orchid-like” in appearance and you’ll note the upper lobe has four “sub-lobes” and the lower lobe has two “sub-lobes”. Used in mass plantings, as edging, in containers, etc. are common options and nemesias prefer full sun and rich soils. They also benefit from frequent fertilization and can be pinched back or trimmed back for another flush of blossoms. It is important to note that in our climate, the hot summers are tough on these plants as they will thrive only in the cooler portions of the year. They grow strongly for us in late April through late June and will also look great in September until a hard frost. We use them much like you would pansies (Viola sp.) as “cool season” options. They rarely look as full as you see here in the dead heat of July and August (in the Midwest) although some varieties are being bred for more summer heat tolerance. In essence, we’ve used them out in early spring containers or bedding arrangements where they will thrive until July and are then removed and replaced with more heat tolerant annuals. They can be left in place however although their blooming will be quite thin until cooler weather returns in very late summer. Some afternoon shade during the hottest portions of summer will help prolong bloom coverage and longevity as well. Most selections will be between 12″ and 24″ in height and they sure pack a punch of color when sited in a nice location. Many varieties are offered as plants (vegetatively grown) in early Spring and there are also varieties that can be started inside from seed.