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Perennial brings colour

This article was first published on 25 Oct 2011.



One of the first of the spring-flowering perennials to emerge after winter and provide wonderful flower colour as well as interesting foliage is Pulmonaria.  It has the unusual common name of lungwort, which could put people off, but this actually refers to the foliage, which is often green with white spots, resembling a diseased lung.

These spring-time charmers are well worth planting in your home garden. They come in a wide variety of both leaf and flower colours.

Where to plant

Pulmonaria are easy-care perennials, low-growing and suitable to plant as an edging or near the front of the garden. They are a wonderful group of plants for semi-shady locations in your garden, as they prefer a moist, well-drained soil.

Planting combinations

A grouping that looks particularly pleasing in the long border is the pink-flowering Prunus ‘Accolade’ under-planted with Pulmonaria officinalis ‘White Wings’ and Chatham Island forget-me-not, Myosotidum hortensium, with its glossy green foliage and sky-blue flowers.

  • After flowering, remove the old flowers and, occasionally, you may have to trim off scruffy leaves to tidy plants up.
  • Easily grown from division of larger plants in spring or from root cuttings.
  • Pulmonaria are flowering now in the herbaceous borders.

Linda Hellyer is the rose and herbaceous collection curator at Dunedin Botanic Garden.