pulmonariaPulmonaria – Lungwort: Lungwort – not the most enticing common name, is it? Just remember that its derivation is medicinal; to the herbalists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the foliage resembled that of a diseased lung.

Some Pulmonaria have white-dotted green foliage and pink flower buds that open and age to blue while others have longer, narrower, silver leaves and eye-catching purple blue flowers. There are many species and cultivars and you can surely find one that will make you happy. Many have flowers that last four to six weeks in May and June. Pulmonaria ’Trevi, with its dark flowers, is probably my favorite; it blooms first and longest in my garden.

Pulmonaria grows about twelve inches high and wide. The foliage that looks as though it is sparkling with sunlight has made Pulmonaria an invaluable perennial for the partially shaded garden. Thankfully, the deer tend to leave it alone. Do not allow Pulmonaria to dry out unless you want wilted, raggedy plants. However, wet soil will kill them so be sure that the soil is well-drained and preferably enriched with leaf humus. If sited in morning sun, and /or an area with good air circulation, mildew will not be much of a problem. Buy some Pulmonaria and enjoy the shade!