The Polmonaria
This is my site Written by Geoff on September 1, 2000 – 7:14 pm

There are more than twelve species of Pulmonaria which are a member of the Borage family. Polmonaria, also called lungworts, Bethlehem sage, and cowslip are a nice group of plants for the semi shady garden. The leaves are simple, large, hairy, and green with a few species spotted. They like moist soil but, do very well in average garden soil. Most are fast growers and some species are evergreen although most are deciduous. 

Polmonaria flower in early spring, soon after the snow disappears. Stems arise from the top of the plant that may still have green leaves after winter. Most plants have funnel shaped flowers with somewhat flaring mouths. Flower colors can be red, blue, white or violet. Some species have pink flower buds and come out as reddish – violet turning blue as they age. Flowers close at night and open again in the morning. 

New leaves begin to grow after the first flowers open. Roots are white and thickly fibrous. Pulmonaria should be planted in a somewhat shady area, they do very well under maple trees. They do not like hot, intense heat and light of the summer sun. Polmonaria are not good in hot, humid climates because they will go dormant. Even here, though, these hardy plants begin to grow again in late summer or early fall, when the temperature is cooler. They will suffer from mildew under these conditions. 

Pulmonaria are a valuable shade to partial shade plant with early spring flowers and attractive rosettes of basal leaves. In their native environments, the lungworts grow on a wide range of soils from acid to alkaline, dry to wet, sunny to shady, along streams and in mountains. 

Lungworts make great ground covers when grown well. Working well with solomon seal, astilbe, epimedium, or hostas. Here are some good Polmonaria to start with: 

P. angustifolia Azurea: Lance-shaped green leaves and wonderful blue flowers. 

P. angustifolia Blaues Meer: Lance-shaped green leaves with dark blue flowers. 

P. longifolia Little Blue: Masses of small blue flowers, tall-lanced shaped spotted leaves. 

P. longifolia ssp. cevennensis: Leaves to 26″ with spotting of silver; cobalt-blue flowers 

P. longifolia Bertram Anderson: Violet-blue spring blooms, narrow spotted leaves. 

P. longifolia Roy Davidson: Green foliage spotted with silver blotches; sky blue flowers. 

P. mollis Somibor: Large green leaves with white blotches; flowers of purplish-pink. 

P. officinalis Blue Mist: Sky blue flowers above lightly spotted leaves. One of first to bloom. 

P. rubra Redstart: Medium green leaves with coral red flowers; vigorous. 

P. rubra David Ward: Leaves of mint-green edged in white with coral flowers. 

P. saccharata Barfields Pink: Velvety deep green leaves; pink flowers with white stripes. 

P. saccharata Janet Fisk: Nice white marbling on leaf; pink flowers turn blue as they age. 

P. saccharata Mrs. Kittle: Dark green leaves with silver marbled effect; rose-pink flowers. 

P. saccharata Mrs Moon: Green leaf with silver spots; pink flowers fade to blue. 

P. saccharata Sissinghurst White: Pure white flowers with green highly spotted leaves. 

P. saccharata Margery Fish: Bright green leaf with silver-gray overlay; red-violet flowers. 

P. x Apple Frost: A silver applique over apple green leaves; rose colored flowers. 

P. x Berries and Cream: Foliage is undulating and silvery; raspberry pink flowers. 

P. x British Sterling: Green margin around shiny silver center on leaves; dark blue flowers. 

P. x Cotton: Cool leaves that are entirely silvered and wonderful blue flowers. 

P. x DeVroomen’s Pride: Near white foliage, green edge; blue flowers fade to pink. 

P. x Excalibur: Silver leaves edged in dark green; rose to wine colored flowers. 

P. x Majesty: Wonderful new introduction–leaves are silver-gray with a very narrow green margin. Blue-pink flowers. 

P. x Paul Aden: A vigorous grower with nicely spotted leaves; pink and blue flowers. 

P. x Milky Way: Huge lance-shaped heavily spotted leaves and blue blooms that fade to wine-pink. 

P. x Purple Haze: Light foggy purple flowers cover a tight mound of well-spotted foliage. 

P. x Raspberry Splash: Dusky raspberry-rose flowers with strongly marked, pointed leaves. 

P. x Spilled Milk: Very compact with extremely silvered leaves; pink flowers. 

P. x Victorian Brooch: Attractive oval silver spotted leaves, upright and outfacing gorgeous magenta-coral flowers with ruby-red calyces. 

P. x White Wings: Pure white flowers, very vigorous with spotted leaves; mildew resistant.

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Modified: March 8, 2009 at 9:22 am GMT-0800

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