Nemesias are colourful annuals and short-lived perennials, bearing wonderfully fragrant, colourful flowers from late spring right through to autumn. Nemesias originate from South Africa and are frost-tender. They flower in a range of colours, including orange, red, pink, purple, blue, and white, often with contrasting centres – some have bi-coloured flowers. Nemesias can be bushy and compact, and therefore suitable for growing at the front of a border or in pots, or trailing and therefore more suited to hanging baskets.


How to grow nemesias

Grow nemesias for summer displays in pots, as well as beds that have good drainage. Buy nemesias as plug plants in early spring or as garden ready plants in late spring to summer. Some nemesias can be raised from seed. Plant in a sunny spot after the frosts in well-drained soil. Deadhead to encourage more blooms. If you want to keep your perennial nemesias to flower the following year, move them to a frost-free spot to overwinter.

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Where to grow nemesias

Nemesias growing in a pot with heuchera and geranium
Nemesias growing in a pot with heuchera and geranium

Full sun and free-draining soil are essential for nemesias to flower well, as poorly drained soil can result in root and stem rots. Plant nemesias in patio pots, window boxes, hanging baskets and in raised beds, as well as in the ground as long as the soil is well drained. They make excellent partners with other summer-flowering patio plants or can be grown on their own or in small groups.

How to plant nemesias

Planting nemesias in a hanging basket
Planting nemesias in a hanging basket

Nearly all nemesias are frost-tender and should be planted out only after all danger of frost has passed. Use a peat-free, multi-purpose compost for pots and add perlite or vermiculite to ensure good drainage. Where pots or containers are standing on a hard surface, raise them just off the ground so any surplus water can drain away freely. Space nemesias around 15-25 cm apart, depending on variety size and the size of container. Water in after planting.

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How to care for and overwinter nemesias

Water as required to keep the compost evenly moist but take care not to over-water as nemesias are prone to root and stem rot. From midsummer, feed every couple of weeks with a liquid fertilizer high in potash. Trim off dead and faded flowers to keep the plant looking smart and to encourage more blooms. If straggly stems develop, shorten to maintain a neat shape.

Perennial nemesias can be kept over winter for a year or two by bringing plants into a frost-free place that’s not too warm, such as a heated greenhouse, porch, conservatory, or windowsill in a cool room. Water very sparingly over winter as they're susceptible to rotting.

How to propagate nemesias

To grow nemesia from seed, sow under cover in early spring at 15°C, transplant the seedlings into small pots and grow on for planting out in early summer.

Nemesia hybrids can be raised from cuttings taken from the tips of non-flowering shoots, in late summer. When rooted, pot individually into small pots and grow in a warm place over winter.

Growing nemesias: problem solving

Nemesias are prone to root and stem rots, which occur when growing conditions are too wet. prevent this by giving plants good drainage and a sunny site.

Advice for buying nemesias

    • Check the height and spread before you buy – bear in mind that trailing varieties are best for haning baskets and pots
    • Choose between annual, perennial and tender perennial nemesias – do you have space to overwinter tender perennial varieties?
    • Check the plants for signs of damage and pests, ensuring the leaves and flower buds look healthy

Where to buy nemesias online

Nemesia varieties to grow

Nemesia 'Berries and Cream'
Nemesia 'Berries and Cream'

Nemesias to grow from seed:

  • Nemesia cheiranthus ‘Shooting Stars’ bears unusual and exotic-looking flowers which are yellow with long spurs, and scented.
  • Nemesia strumosa ‘Carnival’ series. Compact dwarf habit with flowers in red, yellow, purple, orange, pink and white. Upright habit.

Nemesia hybrids to buy as plants:

  • Nemesia ‘Berries and Cream’ is a pretty mixture of purple, mauve and white
  • Nemesia ‘Ice Pink’ has soft pink blooms
  • Nemesia ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ has exceptionally eye-catching bi-coloured flowers, purple on the upper half with a bright yellow centre fading to pale yellow on the lower part
  • Nemesia ‘Sunshine’ is bright yellow, fading to pale yellow on the outside of the petals
  • Nemesia ‘Tropical’ bears flowers of an unusual blend of orange and dark pink
  • Nemesia ‘Wisley Vanilla’ flowers are pure white with a yellow eye, borne on upright stems. Particularly strongly scented