Useful information

Umbilical cord: growing, reproduction

A kind of navel (Omphalodes) family borage (Boragineceae) - 16 types of plants. Among them there are annuals, but most are perennial species. They are valued in culture as shade-tolerant and drought-tolerant ground cover plants.

In nature, umbilicals are common in the Northern Hemisphere, mainly in the Mediterranean and East Asia, several species grow in North America. Despite the origin from warm regions, some species thrive in central Russia.

The name of the genus is both Russian and Latin (from Greek omphalos - navel) is given to the plant for the structure of the fruit.

The flowers of the navel resemble forget-me-nots, their color in different species - from azure blue to white, the everyday English-language names of the navel of the spring - Creeping forget-me-not, Creeping navelwort, Blue-eyed Mary ...

Spring navel

Spring navel (Omphalodes verna) grows in Central and South-Eastern Europe, with the exception of the Pyrenees. Grows in the shade of trees in forests, bushes, in wastelands, up to an altitude of 1300 m above sea level.

It is a short-rhizome plant 20-30 cm high. Leaves are up to 3 cm long and 2 cm wide, oval-cordate, with pointed tips, sparsely pubescent, with grooved veins, on long petioles. It blooms from the beginning of May during the month with five-petal flowers with an accrete wheel-shaped perianth, reminiscent of forget-me-nots, but somewhat larger in size - 0.7-1.5 cm in diameter. They are located on the stems in 2-4. Fruits are hairy, up to 2 mm long. In June, it forms stolons up to 0.5 m long, scattered in different directions. By the end of summer, the rosettes take root, and the stolons die off.

  • Alba - up to 20 cm tall, with smaller but numerous white flowers. Winter hardiness is lower than that of specific plants.
  • Grandiflora - with bright blue flowers twice the size of the species.
  • Elfenauge - up to 25 cm, with blue flowers. Winter hardiness - up to -23 degrees.
Navel Cappadocian Cherry Ingram

Cappadocian navel (Omphalodes cappadocica) grows in deciduous forests of the Western Caucasus.

Unlike the previous species, it does not form stolons, it grows due to short underground rhizomes.

It is a perennial plant up to 30 cm tall with a rosette of ovate-oblong, pointed, with a heart-shaped base, short-haired leaves 10-30 cm long, with embossed veins. The flowers are in loose racemose curls, with a blue wheel-shaped limb and a white tube inside. Pedicels droop after flowering.

In the conditions of central Russia, it behaves like a juvenile, forms weak stems, blooms in early May with few flowers, does not tie seeds.

  • Cherry ingram - a variety with bright blue flowers, the color of which turns to purple.
  • Starry eyes - a very showy variety with bicolor flowers corrugated along the edge, blue with white edging, in the shade the flowers become almost white.

Grows in the European part of Russia and the Caucasus

umbilical cord curled(Omphalodes scorpioides) - a little decorative annual.

Practically unknown and absent in culture:

  • Umbilical cord Caucasian(Omphalodes caucasica) - rosette type with wintering leaves, not forming stolons;
  • Kuznetsov's navel(Omphalodes kusnetzovii) - endemic to Abkhazia;
  • Umbilical man Loyka(Omphalodes lojkoe) - perennial species with grayish-green short-pubescent foliage and flowers in racemose curls;
  • Rocky umbilical(Omphalodes rupestris), growing on the territory of the Chechen Republic and Ingushetia;
  • Flax-leaved umbilical cord(Omphalodes linifolia), native to Southwest Europe and Africa and grown as an ornamental annual.


The navel is a forest plant; a semi-shady place is selected for it in the crown of deciduous trees or shrubs. In the sun, the leaves of the spring navel burn, but they are winter-green, and you need to try to preserve them.The umbilical soil prefers light, humic soils, with acidity from slightly acidic to slightly alkaline (pH 6.1-7.8). It tolerates sour, it is recommended to plant it even under rhododendrons. Soil fertility is provided by mulching with compost, additional fertilizing is not applied - on too humus soils, foliage develops to the detriment of flowering.

Plants are fairly drought tolerant, but still thrive best in moderately moist soil. They do not get sick and are not damaged by pests.

The spring navel grows rapidly at the expense of stolons, in contrast to it, the Cappadocian navel lays buds for development in the next season on the rhizomes. He needs a warm, warmed up place and shelter for the winter with a layer of mulch and leaf litter (winter-hardy up to -23 degrees). However, the main condition for a good wintering of both species is light, well-drained soil, which is easy to provide in rocky gardens, on low slopes and retaining walls.


Umbilicals reproduce mainly vegetatively, especially varieties that lose valuable traits during seed reproduction. The seeds are sown in March so that the plants have time to bloom in the same year.

The umbilical spring is easily propagated by stolons, similar to the "mustache" of strawberries, which are separated from mid-July to the end of August. At the same time, you can divide plants of both types, without putting it off until autumn, so that they have time to take root well before winter. Delenki bloom the next year. It is useful to divide it every 3 years so that the plantings always have a fresh decorative appearance (in case of a lack of moisture, the plant behaves like a youngster).

Reproduction by stem cuttings is also possible.

Use in garden design

So, for the conditions of central Russia, the most suitable species is the spring umbilical. They are winter-hardy, in early spring they form a green leafy carpet, decorated with azure flowers. It serves as an excellent backdrop for taller shade-tolerant plants. Its great advantage is its ability to grow in the crown of trees, withstand dry periods.

Umbilical cord Cappadocian Cherry Ingram on the retaining wall

This quality allows the plant to be used on retaining walls, in containers and flowerpots, which from the middle of summer are completely covered with young rosettes.

The navel is often compared with the forget-me-not, as well as the similar flowers of the Siberian Brunner, which has the same “forget-me-not” flowers. But, unlike these plants, the umbilical cord does not have any dormant period, until the snow falls, it retains its green cover due to wintering foliage.

The navel is one of those plants that are better planted in large tracts, then the garden acquires the natural beauty of a forest, natural landscape.

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