Common name: Lungwort, Bethlehem Sage, Cowslip.
Pulmonaria officinalis is not indigenous to the UK but has naturalised quite widely.
The common name is derived from the white spots on the long blue-green leaves.
These were thought to resemble the alveolar cavities of our lungs and so the plant was thought to be good for curing respiratory troubles.
These low growing hardy perennials are suitable for a rock garden, or for ground cover in shaded areas.
They have green narrow white spotted leaves, and clusters of small blue, red, violet or white trumpet shaped flower which close at night and open again in the morning appear in March/May.
New leaves begin to grow a few days after the first flowers open.
The flowers are a prolific sources of pollen thus making them an attractive plant for bees and wasps.
When the first flowers open the stems are only 25mm (1") out of the ground.
More flowers open over the next few weeks as the stems reach their full height, which is generally around 250-500mm (10"-18") for most varieties.
Some species have red-pink flower buds that open reddish-violet in colour then turn blue as they age.
Sow seed in trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 10°- 12°C (50°- 54°F)
*Seed may not come true to the parent!
Divide established plants every three to four years after flowering and replant immediately.
Plant out seedlings in a shady position anytime from now until March, in any ordinary moist garden soil.
A spot that gets spring sunshine and morning light is ideal.
Keep the roots moist in the growing season by mulching with peat and/or regular watering.
They will wilt under the intense heat and light of summer sun.
They may also suffer from powdery mildew in humid conditions.
If not done previously and if required, lift and divide large clumps.