Perry's Perennial Pages

Pulmonaria 'Benediction'

    Perennial of the Month-- April 2003 

(pul-meh-nair' ee-ah)   (pronunciation at link, turn up volume if too low)

Common name: Lungwort

Family: Boraginaceae, Borage

Height x width: 12" x 24"

Growth rate, habit: moderate, mounded

Foliage: dark green, few silvery spots

Flowers:  cobalt blue, early spring (early Mar in zone 8, early May in zone 4)

Hardiness: USDA zones 4-9

Soil: moist

Light: part shade, will tolerate sun in north if kept moist

Pests and Problems: bacterial rot, powdery mildew (this cultivar is more resistant than some), aphids

Landscape habit, uses: low mound, front of border, groundcover; combines well with other spring flowers such as trilliums, primroses, epimedium, ferns and hostas and spring bulbs

Other interest: common name of "soldiers and sailors" for this genus from two color flowers often seen on plants of other cultivars at same time; common name from 15th century Doctrine of Signatures of Paracelsus which implied the appearance of a plant cured similar appearing ailment, hence this spotted-leaved plant should cure diseased lungs; this cultivar named for Seattle gardener Loie Benedict; this cultivar is distinguished by its darker green leaves and richer blue flowers than others

Other culture: spreads by creeping rootstocks but is not aggressive, de-leaf lower foliage during season, if mildew on foliage cut back after flowering and new foliage will develop

Propagation: easy by division of rootstocks in Spring, seed

Sources: many complete perennial nurseries and garden centers, local and online, Joy Creek Nursery and Sunny BorderNurseries (wholesale)

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