How to Grow Omphalodes Plants

Guide to Growing Navelwort and Blue Eyed Mary

Members of the Omphalodes plant genus are hardy annuals and perennials that reach about 30 cm (12 inches) in height.

This makes them ideal for use in rock gardens or as an edging plant.

Omphalodes have wiry stems, greyish green leaves. They have cup shaped flowers of white or blue, that bloom from the middle of spring to summer.

Some common names for Omphalodes include Navelwort, Creeping forget me not, and Blue Eyed Mary.

Omphalodes linifolia
Omphalodes linifolia – Navelwort by Nekonomania; creative commons.

Omphalodes verna
Omphalodes verna - Blue Eyed Mary by S H K G; creative commons.

Omphalodes Plant Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Navelwort, Blue Eyed Mary.
Family: Boraginaceae.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual. Hardy perennial.
Height: 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm).
Native: Mediterranean, Europe, Asia, North America.
Growing Region: Annuals: zones 1 to 10. Perennials: zones 5 to 9.

Flowers: Spring and summer.
Flower Details: White, blue. Cup-shaped.
Foliage: Ovate. Compact. Green; blue-green; grey-green.

Sow Outside: 1/8 inch (6 mm). Following the last frost or/and in the autumn (warm areas only). Spacing 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm).
Sow Inside: Germination time: two to six weeks. Temperature 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C). Two months in advance. Transplant outdoors following the last frost.

Requirements: Full or partial shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 7 to 8.5. Peaty soil. Moist soil. In the spring supply a top dressing of cow manure. Mulch to keep soil cool and to retain moisture. Regular watering to keep soil moist. Perennials should be cut back once flowering has completed. Propagate perennials: in cool areas divide in the spring; in warm areas divide in the autumn.

How to Grow Navelwort and other Omphalodes Plants in the Garden

The seeds of Navelwort and other Omphalodes plants should be sown at about 3 mm (1/8 inch) deep. Sow after the last frost of spring.

Navelwort likes to grow in a peaty, slightly alkaline soil, that is both cool and moist.

They are able to grow in both partially and fully shaded areas of the garden.

When first growing Navelwort indoors, start about three months in advance.

It can take anything from two to seven weeks for the seeds to germinate at 18 to 24 degrees Centigrade (64 to 75°F).

Once growing, strongly transplant the seedlings about 20 cm (8 inches) apart following the last frost of spring.

Caring for Navelwort and similar Omphalodes species

It is best to apply manure to the soil that Navelwort grows within in the spring. Mulch the plant to keep the soil and roots cool.

Water Omphalodes plants regularly to keep the soil moist, and cut back once flowering has finished. If more Omphalodes plants are required they can be propagated by division in the spring.

Common Questions

How many members does the Omphalodes genus contain?

The Omphalodes genus consists of about 25 species. These plants, commonly known as Navelwort or Blue-eyed-Mary, and cherished for their small, star-shaped flowers.

Do Omphalodes members make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Omphalodes are great for gardens, especially as groundcovers in shady spots. Their delicate flowers can add a touch of color in spring.

Which Omphalodes species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

Omphalodes verna, commonly known as Creeping Navelwort, is often chosen for its attractive blue flowers and its adaptability to shady areas.

Are Omphalodes plants fragrant?

Omphalodes plants aren't known for their fragrance, but their appealing flowers and foliage make them a worthwhile addition to the garden.

What is the perfect location to grow Omphalodes?

Grow Omphalodes in part shade to full shade. They thrive in well-drained soil rich in organic matter, making them perfect for woodland gardens or shaded borders.

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

Currently, Omphalodes is not listed as invasive in the USA. It's always good to check local guidelines as situations can change.

How do I remove Omphalodes plants from my garden?

Omphalodes can be easily removed by digging up the plants, ensuring you remove as much of the root system as possible.


The genus Omphalodes belongs to the Boraginaceae family. It consists of charming perennials often known as navelwort. They feature delicate, forget-me-not-like flowers and make a lovely groundcover, especially in woodland settings.

Omphalodes prefers a shaded or partially shaded location with moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Plant them in early spring for a delightful display of spring blooms. These plants are particularly effective under trees or shrubs or in a woodland garden where they can spread and naturalize.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Omphalodes plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Pulmonaria, Crocosmia plant, and Echium plants.