Cynoglossum: hound’s tongue

Height 45-60cm(18-24in)

Planting distance 30cm (12in)

Flowers in mid and late summer

Well-drained, fertile soil

Sunny site

Hardy annual/biennial

Sometimes known as Chinese forget-me-not, the flowers of Cynoglossum amabile are produced in greater profusion than on the ordinary forget-me-not. The leaves are tongue-shaped, grey-green and downy. A true biennial, hound’s tongue will flower in the same year from seed, raising its sprays of turquoise-blue flowers on slender stems above the bushy foliage. The variety ‘Blue Showers’ has sky-blue flowers.

Hound’s tongue is suitable for growing in annual and mixed borders, as edging to semi-wild areas and in containers. The flowers last well in water.


Sow seeds in an outdoor nursery bed in early summer; thin out the seedlings and transplant them to their flowering positions in mid autumn. For flowering the same year, sow under glass at a temperature of 13-16°C (55-61°F) in late winter; prick off the seedlings into boxes and harden them off in a cold frame before planting out, 30cm (12in) apart, in late spring. The plants self-seed freely and should be dead-headed regularly. Hound’s tongues grow in any good soil that drains freely; they thrive in full sun or partial shade.

Pests and diseases

Tobacco mosaic virus may cause mottling of leaves and stunting of plants.

22. February 2012 by Dave Pinkney
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