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Pulmonaria (pul-muh-NAIR-ee-uh)

Common Name:  Lungwort

Light:  - Part shade to full shade

Soil:  Humus-rich, moist but well-drained, woodland

Moisture:  Average to slightly moist

Blooms:  Spring

Zones:  3 - 8


Pulmonaria 'High Contrast' PP#12337

Pulmonaria 'Samourai'

Pulmonaria Description and Cultural Information

There are several species and many hybrids of Pulmonaria. All have basal, hairy leaves and clusters of nodding flowers in the spring. The foliage may be lance-shaped or oval and solid green to spotted, silvery, or white margined. They all grow from crowns with thick fibrous roots and prefer shady, woodland conditions.

Pulmonaria angustifolia, blue lungwort. 9 - 12". This Pulmonaria has narrow, oval, green foliage with lavender-blue flowers. Zones 3 - 8.

Pulmonaria longifolia, long-leaved lungwort. 9 - 12". This species has long, narrow, spotted leaves with flowers that open pink and change to blue. 'Bertram Anderson' has very narrow foliage and dark-blue flowers. 'Golden Haze' is a gold edged form of 'Bertram Anderson' that unfortunately does not have any vigor to it. Zones 3 - 8.

Pulmonaria rubra, red lungwort. 12 - 18". This pulmonaria has pointed, oval green leaves and coral-red flowers. They need a little more shade and moisture to perform best and should be mulched to prevent drying in the winter. 'David Ward' has green leaves with a white margin, giving the appearance of a fuzzy hosta leaf. Zones 4 - 7.

Pulmonaria saccharata, spotted lungwort. 9 - 18". This lungwort has pointed, oval, spotted foliage and pink buds that open to blue flowers. 'Mrs. Moon' has pink flowers that fade to blue. 'Janet Fisk' has dense leaves and lavender-pink flowers. 'Sissinghurst White' has white flowers. Zones 3 - 8.

Pulmonaria hybrids. There are more and more exciting hybrids of this wonderful plant every year, making me wish I had a lot more shade. 'Roy Davidson' is an old time favorite with lance-shaped spotted foliage and light blue flowers. 'Berries and Cream' is another good choice with very silvery, spotted leaves and raspberry-pink flowers. 'Cotton Cool' has entirely silver leaves with blue flowers. 'Northern Lights' has frosted, silvery foliage and flowers in shades of blue, purple, and cranberry. 'Victorian Brooch' has long, silver-spotted foliage and ruby-red buds that open a magenta-coral pink. 'Samourai' has almost completely silvered, lance-shaped foliage and deep bluish-purple flowers. Most hybrids are hardy from zones 4 to 7, although some may do alright in a cool location in zone 8.

How to Grow:  Pulmonarias grow best in moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil in part to full shade. Plants are quite tough and drought tolerant once established but they should be watered regularly for best performance. Plants can be divided after flowering in the spring or as they go dormant in the fall, being sure to completely bury the crown and mulch lightly to protect them from drying out over the winter. Many will cross pollinate and self seed and left unattended can spread to form a nice shady groundcover. Powdery mildew can be a problem with some varieties, so choosing plants that are mildew resistant is recommended.

Landscape uses:  Plant lungworts in the shade garden with hostas, ferns, foamflowers (Tiarella), bleeding hearts, and with coral bells (Heuchera) in the partially shaded garden. Their spring blooms are beautiful against daffodils, early tulips, grape hyacinths, or a carpet of sweet woodruff (Galium).

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