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Brunnera (BROON-er-uh, BRUN-er-uh)

Common Name:  Siberian bugloss, alkanet

Light:  - Part shade to full shade

Soil:  Humus-rich, moist but well-drained

Moisture:  Consistently moist in growth, slightly dry in winter

Blooms:  Spring

Zones:  4 - 10


Brunnera 'Hadspen Cream'

Brunnera 'Jack Frost' PP#13859

Brunnera Description and Cultural Information

Brunnera macrophylla, Siberian bugloss. 12 - 18". In the spring Brunnera is covered with delightful, forget-me-not blue flowers. The large, heart-shaped green leaves provide attractive foliage throughout the summer. Some very exciting selections have been introduced over the years. 'Variegata' has green leaves and a bold, creamy-white variegation. 'Langtrees' has green leaves with silvery spots. 'Jack Frost' PP#13859 has a frosty silver overlay with green veining. 'Looking Glass' PP#17829 is a tissue culture selection from 'Jack Frost' with almost completely silvered foliage, however its lack of veining loses some of the appeal. 'Hadspen Cream' has a creamy yellow turning creamy white edge. 'Dawson's White' has a vivid white margin. 'Emerald Mist' PPAF has splashes of silver but wiht a green center and green margin. 'Mr. Morse' PPAF has silvery foliage and pure white flowers.

How to Grow:  Brunnera prefers evenly moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil in part to full shade. It is a very nice woodland plant, but care should be taken so that it doesn't become a nuisance, especially the solid green plants as they are prolific self-seeders. Watch for self-sown seedlings in areas where it is unwelcome and when you are growing the silver leaf varieties be sure to remove any solid green seedlings. 'Variegata' and other pure white margined plants require full shade and consistent moisture to prevent the white margins from burning or falling out completely, leaving a clump of jagged, green leaves.

In time the crowns can grow up out of the soil. If this happens be sure to cover them with compost or mulch as any exposed crowns could dry out and die over the winter. Other potential problems include foliar nematodes and black spot, both of which can be minimized by making sure plants dry out between watering.

Landscape uses:  Brunnera make excellent ground cover plants in the woodland garden or use the variegated and silver leaved varieties as accents in the shade garden. Combine them with hostas, ferns, Pulmonaria, bleeding hearts (Dicentra), and spring bulbs such as dwarf daffodils.

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