University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - March 2000

Pulmonaria British Sterling

Pulmonaria 'British Sterling'

(pul-meh-nair' ee-ah)

Common name: Lungwort

Family: Boraginaceae, Borage

Height x width: 9-24" x 18-24", usually 12" x 24"

Growth rate: moderate

Foliage: green margins with silvery centers

Flowers: magenta buds opening blue, March in South and April to early May in North

Hardiness: 3-8, varies with species

Soil: moist, not wet

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

Pests and problems:bacterial rot, powdery mildew, aphids

Landscape habit, uses: low mound, front of border, groundcover

Other interest: common name of "soldiers and sailors" from two color flowers often seen on plants 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; modern hybrid of perhaps several species, species being native to Europe

Other culture: spreads by creeping rootstocks but is not aggressive; foliage margins brown if too dry, and plant can rot if too wet; also wilts if in hot sun and dry soil

Propagation: easy by division of rootstocks in Spring, seed

Sources: Shady Oaks Nursery

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