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Wednesday, April 14, 2010


One can always find Pulmonarias in Herb books. They've been grown for their medicinal properties for hundreds of years and are more commonly known as Lungwort. Most books state that the young leaves can be added to salads but I can't imagine trying them as they are hairy as can be...

Supposedly Pulmonarias clear congested lungs, I've also read that they are an ingredient in vermouth. Perhaps that's why another book states that they can cause liver damage? As always, I'll remind all of you that just because a plant is an herb, I do not recommend eating them without knowing more about the plant. This is one that would not pass my lips.

Most Pulmonarias have spotted leaves, in the summer some will also get powdery mildew but since they are already white, it doesn't bother me much.

Quite commonly Pulmonarias have pink flower buds that once opened, quickly change to blue or vice-versa. There are quite a few varieties on the market now, not only does the flower color vary but the amount of spotting on the foliage is another distinctive trait.

The most vigorous Pulmonaria in my garden by far is Pulmonaria angustifolia. Surprisingly, this one has no spotting at all on the leaves. The blooms are the most heavenly sky blue color imaginable.

Out front near the street in barren soil I've been growing Pulmonaria 'Dora Bielefeld' for at least 10 years. As you can see here, it has quite a clear pink bloom. I wish I'd had the forethought to move it to a better location and see what it could really do when grown in rich soil.

There are also pristine white Pulmonarias. The name on this one escapes me, I do know that I've divided out some pieces and shared them with gardening friends. While white is not my favorite color in the garden, it is a most welcome addition to the shade corners that Pulmonarias seem to tolerate.

My recommendations on growing these lovelies is to give them a spot with several hours of sunlight (preferably softer, morning light), rich soil that has been amended with compost and water during dry seasons. Other than that, stand back and watch them bloom!


  1. Enjoy your nice description and beautiful pictures of one of my favourite perennials; added 'Dora Bielefeld' to my hit list. Your angustifolia seems to be more pure blue than my 'Blue Ensign'. Could the white one be 'Opal'?

  2. Hi Chen, You are right, the white one is most definitely 'Opal'. I remembered it as soon as I saw your post :-) It too has been nice and vigorous for me.

    I haven't tried 'Blue Ensign' but do adore the angustifolia here in my garden.


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