Pulmonaria - useful spring Lungworts!

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Mark McD
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Joined: 2009-12-14
Pulmonaria - useful spring Lungworts!

One of my very first garden plants when I was a young boy was Pulmonaria rubra, a very easy and dependable spring bloomer. This species is considered somewhat leafy and coarse, with simple hairy green leaves without the white mottling and speckling touted by the modern hybrids, but I still like it Here are some photos showing plants colonizing the driest of dry woods (under Sugar maples) down at the uncultivated bottom of my yard and woodland where hoses don't reach. The photos show plants in full flower with salmon-red blooms that age blue, the forest floor still strewn with fallen branches from the great ice storm of 2008. The plants shown are from my original stock when I was 10 years old, over 45 years ago! :o :o :o

I googled and found some interesting information on the genus Pulmonaria, Plant Delights Nursery pays homage to Pulmonaria with a separate web domain with useful information on the genus, the page called "Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria, Pulmonaria - The World of Lungworts":
http://www.pulmonarialungwort.com/

A couple of selections from Plant Delights Nursery:

Pulmonaria 'Dark Vader' (looks somewhat similar to P. rubra, which is obviously one of the parents)
http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Current/Detail/04346.html

Pulmonaria 'Silver Bouquet'
http://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Current/Detail/08623.html
Take a look at this one, has P. longifolia v. cevennensis in its parentage.

Also found this page:
Pulmonaria in Flora Italiana
http://luirig.altervista.org/flora/pulmonaria.htm

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

There are lots and lots of Pulmonaria cultivars available.  My experience with them is that they don't always last and can die out after a couple years, but they leave hybrid seedlings behind, which vary and can't bear the cultivar names.  I don't bother with most of the named cultivars these days, I just let the variable hybrid seedlings spread around, satisfied to have some very nice blue-flowered plants in spring.  In summer, they often suffer from mildew blight on the foliage making them look ratty, but it doesn't seem to hurt them in the long run, and they always come back each spring, as well as spread by self-sown seedlings.  Here are a couple such no-name blue lungworts.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

The genus Pulmonaria is one of the more common plant groups here. P. rubra grows wild (garden escapee) in the deciduous woods here and so do other species and hybrids. I have a lot of cultivars but like you Mark let them self-seed. Some of the blue types are fine (no flowers yet).

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

As requested, Pulmonaria altaica, an introduction from Siberia by Josef Halda, according to Wrightman's, source of my plant in 2008:  
http://www.wrightmanalpines.com/details.asp?PRODUCT_ID=P077

It is quite lovely - the leaves are finely felted and soft as a (black) lab's* ears, and the flowers are quite large.

(*Oh okay, I understand that the golden lab lobby is demanding equal ear-fondling time!)

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Boland
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Got  P. altaica on order!

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Boland
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

My first Pulmonaria are open...Pulmonaria rubra and Pulmonaria longifolia.  Pulmonaria angustifolia is open too but I have not had a chance to get a picture yet.  These pictures are taken with my new NikonD300S

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Pulmonaria 'Baby Blue'
Color really is a light baby blue, and plant is only a foot wide.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

RickR wrote:

Pulmonaria 'Baby Blue'
Color really is a light baby blue, and plant is only a foot wide.

That's a good one Rick, I'm a sucker for light blue, I'll have to be on the lookout for this one.  The 'Baby Blue' cultivar looks somewhat similar to one I grow called 'Roy Davison', which is smaller than many, staying fairly low, with light blue flowers, with noticeably pointed leaves, and sometimes with cauline stem leaves almost entirely white.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

It's been a whole month since we started posting photos of Pulmonarias in flower, and they are going as strong or stronger than ever, really becoming a backbone of flower and foliage color for the spring woodland garden.  Lots of seedling babies are showing up, now is the time to put them where wanted, before they get too big in the wrong spot.

1-2  Pulmonaria self-sown plants, providing nice blue backdrop to other spring flowering woodlanders.

3      Tiarella 'Stargazer Mercury' with Pulmonaria backdrop.

4-5  P. 'Roy Davidson' - I had forgotten how this cultivar does reach taller, it's very small pale blue flowers less effective, but the narrow angular spotted foliage define the cultivar. 

6      Self-sown seedling, with good blue flowers and extra good white leaf mottling.

7      taken in a friends garden, they believed this to be Pulmonaria longifolia ssp. cevennensis, certainly a good deep blue and with distinctive extra long and narrow foliage.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

A very nice Tiarella, and nice A. sikokianum, I think, in the background of that pic.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

All of them are nice! I have quite a few Pulmonarias myself and I let them grow where they germinate except a few places.

Mark, what kind of plant in your first photo, to the left, with star-shaped red-marked leaves; and does the small white flowers belong to the leaves?

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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