Nemophila Plant Growing & Care Guide for Gardeners

In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Nemophila plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.

Baby Blue Eyes Flowers, Five Spot: Cultivation & Garden Use

Nemophila is a genus of hardy annuals that reach from 15 to 30 cm (12 to 24 inches) in height.

This makes growing Nemophila plants of great use for rock gardens or at the front of borders.

Nemophila pedunculata
Nemophila pedunculata - Littlefoot nemophila by Franco Folini; creative commons.

They bloom from the middle of summer until the first frost of winter. Plants carry cup shaped flowers, with white petals that have blue veins and spots.

Some common names for Nemophila include Baby Blue Eyes and Five Spot.

Nemophila by Titanium22; creative commons.

Nemophila Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Baby Blue Eyes, Five Spot, Littlefoot.
Members: The genus consists of the following 11 species: Nemophila aphylla; Nemophila breviflora; Nemophila heterophylla; Nemophila kirtleyi; Nemophila maculata; Nemophila menziesii; Nemophila parviflora; Nemophila pedunculata; Nemophila phacelioides; Nemophila pulchella:; and Nemophila spatulata.
Family: They belong to the Boraginaceae, and are thus closely related to forget me nots, Heartleaf, and Heliotropes.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual.
Height: 6 to 16 inches (15 to 40 cm).
Native: North America.
Growing Region: Zones 2 to 9.
Flowers: Summer until first frost; or late winter (warm areas).
Flower Details: Blue, white, purple. Often spotted at the tips. Veined. Cup-shaped. Five petals.
Foliage: Simple. Lobed. Pinnate. Toothed.
Sow Outside: Cover seed. Before last frost (cool areas) or in autumn (warm areas). Spacing 4 to 16 inches (10 to 40 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: one to three weeks. Temperature 55°F (13°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.
Requirements: Full sunlight or light shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 5 to 8. Moist soil. Light soils. Cool soils. Cooling mulch. Regular watering.

How to Grow Baby Blue Eyes Plant, Nemophila

The seeds of Baby Blue Eyes flowers, Five Spot plants, and other Nemophila should be sown at the beginning of spring before the last frost. Once sown lightly cover the Nemophila seeds with soil.

They can grow in either partially shaded or sunny areas of the garden, and have a preference for a light soil, that is cool and moist and of pH 5 to 8.

Baby Blue Eyes and other Nemophila will not grow well in humid conditions.

If you plan to first grow Nemophila plant species such as Baby Blue Eyes flowers indoors first, then start about 7 weeks in advance.

The seeds should be sown in peat pots and take about two or three weeks to germinate at 12 degrees Celsius. Once ready transplant Nemophila about 10 to 20 cm (small Nemophila species) or 30 to 40 cm (large Nemophila varieties) apart.

Caring for Baby Blue Eyes Flowers and other Nemophila plants in the Garden

Once established Baby Blue Eyes and other Nemophila are easy to look after, they should be watered frequently to keep the soil moist.

It is also necessary to keep the soil and roots of Nemophila cool by supplying mulch.

Plant Specific Nemophila Growing Guides

Nemophila menziesii (Baby Blue Eyes)

Baby Blue Eyes flowers are another name for plants of the Nemophila menziesii species. These delicate annuals are a native of California, Oregon, and the Eastern Mexico Baja California area.

Plants are low growing (15 to 30 cm; 6–12 inches), leaves are lobed and succulent, and the six petaled Baby Blue Eyes flowers can be either blue or white.

The species has three main varieties N. menziesii var. menziesii and N. menziesii var. integrifolia have blue flowers, whilst N. menziesii var. atomaria has white flowers with a hint of blue, and black spots.

Seeds can be sown directly into the garden in spring (once temperatures have reached 16°C (60°F) and summer, or into pots and containers in the autumn.

Locate in a sunny area, in a soil with good drainage that is enriched in either compost or manure.

Once they appear, thin seedlings to about 20 to 25 cm (8–10 inches). Baby Blue Eyes are easy to care for as they are drought tolerant.

Nemophila menziesii
Baby Blue Eyes in flower by David~O

Use in a wild-flower garden, rockeries, containers and pots, or massed as part of a border or bed.

They are a great plant to use as part of a wildlife garden as the Baby Blue Eyes flowers will attract butterflies and bees to your garden.

Nemophila maculata (Five Spot)

The Nemophila maculata species is more commonly called Five Spot, and sometimes as Five-spot baby or Buffalo Eyes.

They are hairy bushy annuals that reach about 10 to 25 cm in height (4–10 inches) and bloom in mid-spring and summer.

They perform well in all growing zones, and seeds should be sown in situ.

Leaves are lobed, opposite, and pinnate. Flowers are bowl shaped, solitary and can reach 4 cm (1.3 inches) in diameter.

They carry five petals, these are white with violet veins, and each petal has a dark spot at its tip, hence the common name for the Five Spot flower. Plants fruits produce 12 smooth greenish-brown seeds each.

Nemophila maculata
Nemophila maculata Five Spot by chipmunk_1

Nemophila maculata enjoys full sun (cooler areas) and partial shaded areas of the garden (afternoon shade for best results) that have a moist, well-drained and fertile loam.

Plants are easy to care for but can be susceptible to aphids. Plants attract bees and butterflies.

Other Commonly Grown Nemophila Species

Nemophila phacelioides

Nemophila phacelioides
Nemophila phacelioides (Baby blue-eyes), photograph by Sonnia Hill; CC.

Nemophila heterophylla

Nemophila heterophylla
Nemophila heterophylla (Small Baby Blue eyes), picture by Don Loarie; CC.

Nemophila pedunculata

Nemophila pedunculata
Nemophila pedunculata (Littlefoot Nemophila) leaves, Image by Joe Decruyenaere; CC.

Common Questions

How many members does the Nemophila genus contain?

The Nemophila genus contains 11 species. These North American natives are often grown as annuals and known for their attractive, bell-shaped flowers.

Do Nemophila members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Nemophila make excellent garden plants. They're great for edging, ground cover, rock gardens, and containers. Their lovely blooms also attract pollinators.

Which Nemophila species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown species is Nemophila menziesii (Baby Blue Eyes), prized for its bright blue, eye-catching flowers.

Are Nemophila plants fragrant?

While Nemophila flowers are not typically fragrant, their charming visual appeal more than compensates for it.

What is the perfect location to grow Nemophila?

Nemophila prefers a location with full sun to partial shade. They enjoy well-drained soil and cooler temperatures, making them excellent spring bloomers.

Is Nemophila invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

As native North American plants, Nemophila species are not considered invasive in the USA.

How do I remove Nemophila plants from my garden?

If you need to remove Nemophila, they can easily be pulled up by hand due to their shallow root system.


The Nemophila genus, part of the Boraginaceae family, comprises annual plants known as Baby Blue Eyes. They are cherished for their delicate, sky-blue or white flowers, typically blooming in spring.

Nemophila prefers cool weather, partial shade, and well-drained soil. Plant them in late winter or early spring. While they need regular watering, they also require good drainage to prevent root rot. With their delightful blossoms, they are a beautiful addition to rock gardens, borders, or containers.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on Nemophila plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Cynoglossum and Onosma plants.