How to Grow and Care For Lungwort ‘Pulmonaria’

How to Grow and Care For Lungwort ‘Pulmonaria’

How to Grow and Care For Lungwort 'Pulmonaria'

Image by Federico Maderno from Pixabay

Lungwort ‘Pulmonaria’ is a perennial with lovely spring blossoms that resemble tissue paper nearly in appearance and come in a variety of colours. They start off as a wonderful shade of red, then as they become older, they turn a deep purple. Lungwort has lance- and heart-shaped leaves that are medium green and have silver flecks on them. It is possible for this silver spotting to get so thick that the entire leaf takes on a silver hue. These plants give brightness to shadowy areas of the garden and are hardy in Zones 2 through 8. They pair nicely with other shade-loving plants.

Lungwort (Pulmonaria spp.) got its name because ancient herbalists believed the plant’s leaves resembled lungs and could thus heal lung ailments. Although the unappealing moniker has persisted, they are also known as soldiers, sailors, spotted dogs, and Bethlehem sages. Although spring planting is usually successful, late summer to autumn is the best time to sow lungwort from potted nursery plants. It grows slowly, and its rhizomatous roots will gradually spread to colonise a shaded area.

Lungwort Care

Lungwort should be grown in areas with lots of shade. They can be shielded from the sun by a wall, a fence, or another building. In order to avoid competing with the tree’s roots for moisture, lungwort should be watered often if it is planted close to a tree. Additionally, lungwort will benefit from the shade provided by tall perennials.


Usually, lungwort is grown in either complete shade or partial sunlight. But in the early spring, when fewer trees have yet to leaf out and block more of the sun’s rays, it can tolerate quite an amount of intense light, which is advantageous. In warmer weather, harsh direct sun can blister the plant’s leaves and cause the plant to wilt. However, too much shadow can reduce a plant’s ability to blossom.

Soil and Water

Lungwort can withstand a range of circumstances. As it starts to grow, evenly moist, well-drained soils are excellent. Lungwort, however, does not mind a little drought after it has grown. It may be beneficial to apply compost before planting, especially in dry clay soils, as they thrive on soils rich in organic matter. For the greatest appearance, some plants can require more watering in direct sunlight. These plants struggle in soil that is either too dry or too wet and require a moderate level of moisture. When the soil starts to dry out as a result of a lack of rain or especially hot weather, water it. However, don’t water your plants so often that they spend a lot of time in moist soil.

Temperature and Humidity

Lungwort plants flourish in cool weather and struggle in hot weather. As soon as the threat of frost has gone in the spring, they begin to grow. They might wilt in the heat of the summer, but once fall’s colder temperatures approach, they should bloom once again.


When planting, add compost to the soil. Lungwort doesn’t require much fertiliser in any other case. Follow the manufacturer’s directions when applying a small amount of all-purpose garden fertiliser around the plant in the early spring.

Different kinds of lungwort

Blue Ensign‘: This early bloomer has cobalt-blue blooms and solid dark green foliage.

Raspberry Splash‘ has stunning clusters of raspberry pink and soft lavender blooms, as well as dark green leaves dotted with silver.

Shrimps on the Barbie‘ features pink flowers and long green leaves that are sprinkled with silver.

Trevi Fountain‘ has very big azure flowers and medium-green foliage with silver markings.

Majeste‘: This cultivar features pinkish blossoms that turn blue-violet as they mature. The leaves are silver-gray with green edges and are long and lance-shaped.

Pulmonaria saccharata (‘Excalibur’) ‘Excalibur’ has silver leaves with emerald rims and veins. In the spring, its rose pink blossoms appear. It grows to a height of 9 inches and is hardy in Zones 4-8.

Spilled Milk‘: This hybrid has the well-known pink-to-blue bloom pattern. Purple-tinged young leaves eventually turn white as they ripen.

Roy Davidson‘: This plant features pale blue flowers and dark green foliage with silver-white markings.

Smokey Blue” is a shrub with pink blooms that turn blue and silvery-spotted leaves.

The plant Pulmonaria officinalis ‘Sissinghurst White‘ has speckled leaves and pure white blooms. Zones 4 through 8 have growth of 10 inches.

Opal” Lungwort: The 10-inch-tall ‘Opal’ plant thrives in Zones 4–8, bearing lovely pale blue flowers tinged with pink and silver-spotted foliage.

Pulmonaria rubra, or red lungwort, is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring. Over solid, light green, spotless leaves, it has clusters of nodding, funnel-shaped pinkish-red flowers. It is hardy in Zones 5-8 and reaches a height of around 15 inches.

Pruning Lungwort

Once the lungwort has finished flowering, cut off any dead stems. It will also encourage potential reflowering and new growth. Some lungwort leaves and stems will dry out in extremely hot temperatures. If this occurs, take them away. You can trim off the tops of the plants when lungwort turns dormant in the warmest portion of the summer. Lungwort will regenerate in cooler weather if you keep them well-hydrated.

Propagating Lungwort

Lungwort is typically a short-term perennial. After a number of years, clusters might start to gradually thin out and deteriorate. However, you can keep them going much longer with a relatively frequent division (every few years is fine). Dig up the plant and cut or break the cluster into more manageable portions with roots and leaves still attached. At the same depth as the original plant, place these in the garden and give them plenty of water. Additionally, lungwort will reseed in your garden.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Lungworts have no serious pest or disease problems. However, they can be vulnerable to slug damage and powdery mildew, which causes unusual and damaged leaves. In most cases, powdery mildew is not lethal, but it can be treated with a fungicide spray.

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