Plant of the Week – Pulmonaria

The name Pulmonaria, derived from the Latin word ‘Pulmo’, meaning lung, is also known as lungwort. The name came about when medieval herbalists assumed it would make a functional medicine for pulmonary conditions as the spotted leaves of the plant resemble that of a diseased lung. No to digress though, it is also a superb and popular ornamental garden plant.

Pulmonaria is a beautiful flowering woodland shade perennial. Related to Borage, Pulmonaria’s fuzzy, prickly leaves are deer-resistant and range from solid green to nearly pure silver. Many varieties have mottled foliage in a mosaic of both. Early and long blooming the flowers range from blue to hot pink or red and even come in a mixture of both colors.

Pulmonaria prefers shade and a moist but well-drained site, where they establish quickly and make a superb spring show. Although drought tolerant, pulmonaria plants grow best in moist soils. If soils dry out too much in summer sometimes, the plant will go dormant, only to surprisingly re-emerge the following spring. To avoid this, plant in evenly moist soils or supplementally irrigate during heat and drought. We tend to grow mostly P. longifolia hybrids, as the species longifolia is more robust and more tolerant of these conditions than the old school varieties like P. saccharata ‘Mrs. Moon’. Best grown in groups or massed as a ground cover it can lighten up the shade garden by creating great foliage contrast. Come in and check them out in our Rohsler’s Grown containers. Happy spring and happy gardening!

Rohsler’s Grown Pulmonaria are grown locally and naturally at our nursery.