This lovely perennial deserves more
attention from gardeners. Pulmonarias are very underused and we think that is just a
shame. These beautiful plants are natural companions to Hostas or ferns and are a natural
fit for the woodland garden. The foliage is usually spotted or frosted with clusters
of funnel shaped flowers that are usually a shade of pink or blue. Flowering occurs in
very early spring, usually around the middle of March here in zone 6. Plants retain
their beautiful foliage through most of the winter, but will die back slightly just before
the new seasons flowering begins.
Pulmonarias do best in a highly organic, moisture retentive soil. It is important that
you amend your soil with plenty of composted manure and peat moss before planting.
Plants will grow in full shade or partial shade, but we have noticed that they
perform best if given a few hours of morning sun. Plants will burn in full sun
becoming very unattractive. Plants like a consistently moist soil - dry soils can
lead to powdery mildew problems so always provide waterings during hot dry spells.
Plants spread by slowly creeping underground rhizomes and will form a nice clump of
foliage in about two growing seasons. Division helps keep the plants healthy and we
suggest that you divide your Pulmonarias every 4 to 5 years in late fall. Feed
in early spring just as soon as flowering has stopped with top dressing of composted
manure and bone meal. Liquid feed twice in the summer with fish emulsion.
Zones: 3 - 9
Problems: Powdery mildew can be a problem
Notes: Keep plants watered during dry spells to avoid powdery
mildew problems - avoid watering late in the evenings so that the foliage has time
to dry before night fall.