Pulmonaria - useful spring Lungworts!

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

Hoy wrote:

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, that is one of the newer hybrid foamflowers, Tiarella 'Stargazer Mercury'... or at least it should or might be that cultivar... they tend to die out, seedlings arise or the plant moves around, and I'm not 100% sure of its name at this point, even though that's what a nearby label says.  As you're probably aware, there has been an explosion of new Tiarella and Heucherella hybrids in the past decade, all kinds of fancy leaf types.  I have tried about 10 of them, but I believe these newer cultivars have not been properly tested, almost all of the die back and fade out over a few years, whereas the species T. cordifolia and wherryi, were always completely reliable plants when I grew them years ago, making large showy patches.  These new cultivars just sort of "fall apart" in a couple years, leaving weak bits of growth behind; I'm getting fed up with these overbred and insufficiently tested (and expensive) hybrids.  Only 2 of those 10 that I've tried seem reliable, this is one of them.

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

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

McDonough wrote:

Hoy wrote:

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, that is one of the newer hybrid foamflowers, Tiarella 'Stargazer Mercury'... or at least it should or might be that cultivar... they tend to die out, seedlings arise or the plant moves around, and I'm not 100% sure of its name at this point, even though that's what a nearby label says.  As you're probably aware, there has been an explosion of new Tiarella and Heucherella hybrids in the past decade, all kinds of fancy leaf types.  I have tried about 10 of them, but I believe these newer cultivars have not been properly tested, almost all of the die back and fade out over a few years, whereas the species T. cordifolia and wherryi, were always completely reliable plants when I grew them years ago, making large showy patches.  These new cultivars just sort of "fall apart" in a couple years, leaving weak bits of growth behind; I'm getting fed up with these overbred and insufficiently tested (and expensive) hybrids.  Only 2 of those 10 that I've tried seem reliable, this is one of them.

Thank you, Mark. I thought it was something familiar but I couldn't place it. I have not grown any of the new hybrids but the old species and they make good display when in flower. If I come across 'Stargazer Mercury' I think I will give it a try.

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

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

Meant to post these photos sooner, but I was wondering if others experience mildew problems soon after the plants flower.  These things bloom for a full 4-6 weeks, but upon finishing, I find that the blue-flowered hybrids go 100% mildewy on the leaves, stems, and spent inflorescences, looking mighty unsightly for weeks that follow. By about mid-June, some leaves will have survived the onslaught, most other mildewed leaves having collapsed and mostly dried up... much of the debris can be cleaned up at that time if desired.  Yet the plants go on, and for the many years I have watched this phenomenon, the plants continue to grow and prosper each year in spite of this mildew cycle.  Young seedlings also show up here and there, from last year's dropped seed, which I either weed out or move to spots where I want them to be.  On the links I posted earlier, there is mention that hybrids involving certain species (such as Pulmonaria officinalis) are very prone to mildew.

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

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

I have never observed mildew on my plants although annual/biennial Myosotis species get it sometimes.

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

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

No mildews here, either.

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

Kelaidis
Kelaidis's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-02-03

I've never observed mildew on any of the Pulmonarias in my garden or at Denver Botanic Gardens, and we have quite a few...we dod get mildew on columbines, phlox and quite a few other things, usually in later summer when we have more rains...

For every minion of the peaks there are a dozen steppe children growing in the dry Continental heart of all hemispheres still unknown to horticulture.

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

Very interesting... !
I do get mildew on a couple of lungworts here, likely due to drought stress (or so I have assumed  ???).  The ones that get it every year are Pulmonaria saccharata 'Doris Bielefeld', and 'Majeste'.   Others seem to be immune - Pulmonaria longifolia 'E. B. Anderson', P. vallarsae 'Margery Fish', P. rubra, 'Baby Blue',  'Excalibur', 'Little Star', P. altaica, 'Apple Frost, 'Trevi Fountain'...
Does anyone detect a pattern there?

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

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

Skulski wrote:

Very interesting... !
I do get mildew on a couple of lungworts here, likely due to drought stress (or so I assume).  The ones that get it every year are Pulmonaria saccharata 'Doris Bielefeld', and 'Majeste'.  Others seem to be immune - Pulmonaria longifolia 'E. B. Anderson', P. vallarsae 'Margery Fish', P. rubra, 'Baby Blue',  'Excalibur', 'Little Star', P. altaica, 'Apple Frost, 'Trevi Fountain'...

Lori, I never heard of some of those cultivars!  I must be living under a rock ;D  Useful information to get this sort of feedback, as to which Pulmonaria varieties might be more resistant to mildew.

In my initial posting where I give the link to Plant Delights Nursery page on Pulmonaria, it cites early cultivars involving Pulmonaria officinalis as being particularly prone to mildew... maybe that's the background of the unnamed "blues" I have.  My P. 'Roy Davidson' also suffers from the mildew attacks, maybe catching it from the others.  But they all recover, and still seem to increase and become mild "seeders" which needs to be watched.  Plants of P. rubra do not show any mildew problem here.

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

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

As a follow up to this thread, a reminder that Pulmonarias can be useful later in the season too.  I described how after flowering, many of the forms and cultivars I have get terribly mildewed and eventually shed most of the leaves... weeks of seeing ugly distorted browning leaves.  Then the leaves grow out again, and on most of them, look as fresh as they did in spring!  Here's an unnamed seedling (the named cultivars seed around into a soup of variants and hybrids), looking rather good, the milk-splattered foliage has welcome visual impact now in the woodland garden, where there isn't much color otherwise.

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

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

Yes, indeed - a very useful and decorative group for later in the season.  They are not so prone to mildew in my yard, as I mentioned, but cutting away the old flower stems helps to neaten them up, after the spring flush of bloom.
1) Pulmonaria 'Excalibur'
2, 3) And a couple of random seedlings

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

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