Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

An early nectar source for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds

Pulmonaria is a genus of about 17 species of woodland perennials, commonly called lungwort, grown for their attractive foliage and flowers. The leaves are usually fuzzy and spotted with white or silver, but some newer cultivars have silver or white leaves with green marks or margins. Clusters of small, funnel-shaped flowers appear in late winter to early spring. The flowers usually emerge as pink or purple buds and turn blue as they age, giving the clusters a two-toned appearance. But some cultivars have flowers that appear almost white, and a few have flowers that are true red. The flowers provide bees with an early nectar source and attract butterflies and hummingbirds too.

Lungworts are typically compact and low growing, staying under 2 feet tall and wide. They make nice ground cover, as the basal mounds slowly spread by rhizomes. Tough, cold hardy, and easy to grow, lungworts thrive in cool, shady areas and may suffer in the heat. The plants are happy in almost any type of soil, including clay, but the proper moisture level is crucial: soils should be neither parched nor soggy. They are deer and rabbit resistant.

P. angustifolia (narrow-leaved lungwort), P. officinalis (common lungwort, blue lungwort, Jerusalem sage), P. saccharata (Bethlehem lungwort, Bethlehem sage), P. longifolia (long-leafed lungwort, Bethleham sage), and P. hybrids are popular for home gardens.