Develop 5 Spot Flowers

Nemophila maculata

5 spot, Nemophila maculata, is an herbaceous annual within the Boraginaceae household of crops, which additionally contains borage and forget-me-nots.

There are roughly 11 Nemophila species native to the Pacific Coast area, together with a number of generally known as “child blue eyes.”

A horizontal photo of a five spot flower plant with white and purple tipped blooms growing in a garden.

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The flowers are upward-facing and cup-like, and sport a signature blue-to-purple spot on the tip of every of the 5 white petals.

They bloom profusely in mid-spring in hotter climates and thru the summer season in cooler ones, preferring a temperature vary of 55 to 65°F.

Our information to rising child blue eyes, N. menziesii, discusses the cultivation of this sister species.

This text presents all that you must know to develop 5 spot, N. maculata, in USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 10.

Right here’s what we’ll cowl:

Let’s meet 5 spot!

Cultivation and Historical past

N. maculata is native to California and generally discovered at decrease elevations the place the bottom is free and moist, together with slopes, roadbanks, grasslands, and woodland clearings. Vigorous self-sowing has enabled it to naturalize in Oregon and Utah.

In hotter Zones 8 to 10, the place winters don’t freeze, and cooler Zones 3 to 7, the place crops die with the primary frost, seeds that fall on organically-rich, naked floor are more likely to sprout the next yr, main some to suppose this hardy annual species is perennial.

A horizontal photo of a five spot flower plant with white and purple tipped blooms growing in a garden in the sunshine.

Like many wildflowers, 5 spot has small blossoms, measuring as much as one and three quarter inches in diameter.

The petals are vivid white with purplish veining, and the blue-to-purple spot on every tip makes for a putting presentation, particularly when massed in expansive drifts.

The flowers cluster on the terminal ends of trailing, leafy stems coated in high quality hairs. The leaves oppose each other, and the margins range from easy to lobed.

Mature plant dimensions are six to 12 inches tall and large. A quick-spreading development behavior creates dense, carpet-like floor protection.

As is typical with wildflowers, 5 spot doesn’t transplant nicely, so the transition from the wild to the house backyard didn’t happen by way of plant assortment, however seed harvesting.

Usually a part of wildflower mixes, Nemophila seeds are additionally accessible individually by species. We’ll cowl the place to search out some later on this information, so hold studying!

Let’s learn the way to begin crops of our personal.

5 Spot Propagation

We begin 5 spot from seeds which are collected and saved at season’s finish or bought from a good nursery.

A horizontal photo of a young five spot seedling growing in the garden.
Picture by Salicyna, Wikimedia Commons, by way of CC BY-SA.

As talked about, this isn’t a species that readily transplants, so it’s greatest to direct sow seeds in late summer season to late fall in Zones 8 to 10. In Zones 3 to 7, the place the bottom freezes within the winter, sow in early spring after the final common frost date passes.

As a result of seeds could take roughly 65 days to mature, you might wish to jumpstart the rising season by beginning them indoors six to eight weeks earlier than the final frost date.

Use biodegradable seed starter pots, aka peat pots or a comparable peat-free different, and transplant them of their entirety to reduce the danger of transplant failure.

It’s pointless to pretreat the seeds, however cool temperatures under 70°F and darkness for the primary three days after sowing help uniform germination.

Floor sow two to a few seeds per peat pot, urgent them gently in opposition to moist soil.

Cowl or set in a darkish spot for 3 days, then place the pots in vivid, oblique daylight indoors or in a backyard with full solar.

Skinny to 1 seedling per pot as soon as true leaves seem.

Alternatively, direct sow two to a few seeds within the backyard six to 12 inches aside and skinny to 1 per interval when true leaves seem.

Transplant peat pots into the backyard when all threat of frost has handed and the crops have at the very least two true leaves. Plant them so their soil floor is even with the bottom soil to reduce transplant shock.

Keep even moisture in the course of the germination and institution phases.

Develop 5 Spot

If you’re in a cooler zone, select a location with full solar. Whether it is hotter, present gentle afternoon shade.

Work the soil to a depth of at the very least six inches to a crumbly, debris-free consistency. If you’re container gardening, choose a vessel with the same depth.

A horizontal photo of a five spot flower plant with an emerging bud at the end of the stem.
Picture by Salicyna, Wikimedia Commons, by way of CC BY-SA.

Vegetation tolerate common backyard soil however favor well-draining, free, sandy loam with a pH of 6.0 to 7.9, as of their native habitat.

Conduct a soil check and amend as wanted to realize these situations. Notice that N. maculata doesn’t tolerate salt.

As soon as established, present supplemental water about twice a month if it doesn’t rain commonly to maintain the soil moist however not oversaturated. Vegetation don’t have any tolerance for dry soil and are more likely to die throughout a drought.

A horizontal photo of a five spot flower plant with white and purple tipped blooms growing in a garden.

In areas with scorching, humid summers, they bloom within the spring after which die. In cool areas, they develop via the summer season and succumb to the primary frost.

Lastly, N. maculata just isn’t a heavy feeder, so fertilizer is just wanted if the soil could be very poor.

Rising Suggestions

5 spot is a cool-weather Pacific Coast annual that grows nicely elsewhere, offered gardeners meet the next cultural necessities:

  • Develop in full solar and supply gentle afternoon shade within the warmest zones.
  • Help wholesome root formation by working the soil to a depth of 6 inches or offering a equally deep container.
  • Domesticate in free, sandy loam with a pH of 6.0-7.9. Keep away from salty soil.
  • Water about twice a month if it doesn’t rain commonly to keep up even moisture with out oversaturation.
  • Count on spring blooms in areas with scorching, humid summers. Take pleasure in spring-to-frost flowers in cool zones.
  • Solely fertilize if the soil could be very poor.


Upkeep necessities are reasonable for this species. 

Dry soil can spell catastrophe, so water about twice a month if it doesn’t rain to keep up even moisture and help blooming.

A horizontal close up photo of a five spot flower bloom with diseased petal edges.
Picture by Stickpen, Wikimedia Commons, Public Area.

If you’re rising small portions in containers, you might be able to deadhead spent flowers to encourage extra blooming and forestall undesirable self-sowing.

At season’s finish, clear the spent plant particles to inhibit the wintering-over of pests and pathogens on dying foliage and within the soil.

Should you’ve had an an infection or infestation within the backyard, relocate N. maculata to a brand new location the next yr.

The place to Purchase 5 Spot

There aren’t any cultivated types of this native wildflower accessible, solely the straight species, so it’s simple to determine when purchasing.

A square product photo for five spot seeds showing an in bloom five spot plant growing in the garden.

5 Spot

Select from a small starter packet and one-ounce, quarter-pound, and one-pound packages.

Discover 5 spot seeds now from Eden Brothers in quite a lot of package deal sizes.

Managing Pests and Illness

Whereas not vulnerable to pests or pathogens, you’ll wish to look ahead to indicators of pests, resembling:

Illnesses of concern are fungal and embody:

Tackle aphids and spider mites with a agency spray of the hose adopted by remedy with natural insecticidal neem oil. Sizzling, dry situations enchantment to each pests.

Slugs prefer it cool and moist. Deter them with an utility of food-grade diatomaceous earth. House crops appropriately for ample airflow and don’t overwater.

Downy and powdery mildew spores activate with wetness, giving the foliage a white or grey, furry look.

Deal with each with neem oil, which additionally acts as a fungicide. House crops nicely and keep away from oversaturation.

Greatest Makes use of for 5 Spot

A prolific, low-profile wildflower like 5 spot is a flexible backyard addition that exhibits nicely in varied settings. Its deer tolerance is a bonus for a lot of growers.

A horizontal close up of a five spot flower with a hoverfly seated in the center of the bloom.

Sow seeds in pollinator gardens to entice useful bugs, just like the hoverfly pictured above, and butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, and solitary bees that favor Nemophila.

Add them to borders for variegated edging alongside walkways and allow them to meander among the many ornamental stones of a rockery.

Let 5 spot path over stationary containers and hanging planters, to infuse them with motion and texture.

Mass plant a drift for eye-catching visible enchantment and interplant with different wildflowers in an off-the-cuff meadowscape.

When deciding on companions for N. maculata, think about culturally suitable child blue eyes, California poppies, Chinese language homes, clarkia, dudleya, gilia, lupine, and penstemon for a strong show.

Fast Reference Rising Information

Plant Kind: Annual wildflower Flower / Foliage Colour: White with blue to purple/inexperienced
Native to: California Tolerance: Common soil, deer, partial shade
Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3-10 Soil Kind: Sandy loam
Season: Spring to summer season Soil pH: 6.0-8.0
Publicity: Full solar to half shade Soil Drainage: Effectively-draining
Spacing: 6-12 inches Attracts: Bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, moths, and different useful pollinators
Planting Depth: Floor sow (seeds), depth of present container (transplants) Companion Planting: Child blue eyes, California poppies, Chinese language homes, clarkia, dudleya, gilia, lupine, penstemon
Top: 6-12 inches Makes use of: Borders, containers, drifts, edging, hanging planters, mass planting, meadows, pollinator gardens, rockeries
Unfold: 6-12 inches Household: Boraginaceae
Water Wants: Average Subfamily: Hydrophyllaceae
Upkeep: Average Genus: Nemophila
Frequent Pests and Illnesses: Aphids, slugs, spider mites; downy mildew, powdery mildew Species: Maculata

5 Stars for 5 Spot

The diminutive blossoms of 5 spot pack a strong backyard punch when massed to showcase the crisp white petals accented prominently by purple.

A horizontal photo of a five spot flower plant with white and purple tipped blooms growing in a rock garden.

Let’s recap.

N. maculata performs greatest within the 55 to 65°F vary, blooming in early spring in heat zones and proper via the summer season in cool areas.

It has no drought, frost, warmth, or humidity tolerance and prefers full solar however advantages from gentle shade in hotter zones.

The soil ought to be free, sandy loam resembling that of its native habitat, and moist however by no means oversaturated.

With its cultural necessities met, annual 5 spot rewards with a five-star efficiency.

It’s time so as to add this low-profile showstopper to your backyard planner and welcome spring, California type!

Do you develop 5 spot in your out of doors residing house? Tell us your ideas concerning the species within the remark part under.

Should you discovered this text informative and wish to study extra US native wildflowers for the house panorama, we suggest the next:

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