Plant Pick – Growing Pulmonaria


Practically everyone’s heard about how troubled the world’s bee population is, and as gardeners, it’s our responsibility to help these guys out a little. Though I hate wasps, I love the sound a few friendly bumbles buzzing through the foliage in early spring, and if you’re looking for a plant that will flower early whilst also looking great in your garden, it’s pulmonaria.



© Geoff Wakeling 2012

Pulmonaria develops clusters of pink, blue and purple flowers in early spring.

Pulmonaria, also known as common lungwort, is a herbaceous or semi-evergreen specimen depending on your location. It’s also one of those great shade loving plants that you shouldn’t be without.  In the early spring, it develops clusters of flowers in pink, blue and purple which are not only just a great source of nectar for those early emerging bees, but a welcome sight to gardeners following a drab and bleak winter. The leaves offer a bit of extra interest due to their light green mottling.

© Geoff Wakeling 2013

Additional interest is given with the beautiful mottled foliage.

As with most of my plant picks, pulmonaria are extremely easy to care for and will quickly provide a great carpet of ground cover for shaded areas of your garden. You can pinch off the flower stems after the blooms die, but if you’re too busy, then this isn’t really necessary. Other than removing old, ripped and dying leaves, care is extremely easy.

Name: Pulmonaria (Common lungwort)

Thrives In: Best grown in partial shade, though I have it in a patch of full sun too. In particularly dry conditions it can be prone to mildew, so if you plant it in a sunny spot, make sure it’s well watered.

Yearly Care: You can pinch out flower stalks after blooms die, whilst removing old leaves at the same time. It spreads readily and you can separate clumps throughout the year for extra planting.

Growing Medium: Pulmonaria likes a fertile and moist soil which is particularly easy to cultivate in shady spots.

Quick Tip: For wildlife gardens, these shade loving flowers are ideal. Use pulmonaria in great swathes so that emerging bees have plenty of nectar in the spring. Contrasting against light foliage in shady positions, such as stachys byzantina, is particularly pretty.

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I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.