How to Grow Pulmonaria Plants

Guide to Growing Lungwort and Bethlehem Sage

Pulmonaria are woodland hardy perennials.

They bloom in the springtime with tubular flowers of purple or pink.

They have great looking leaves which are speckled with white or silver spots.

Lungwort - Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria officinalis
Pulmonaria officinalis by AnnaKika.

Pulmonaria Growing and Care Guide

  • Common Names: Lungwort, Bethlehem Sage, Soldiers and sailors, Spotted dog.
  • Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
  • Height: 12 inches (30 cm).
  • Native: Europe, Asia.
  • Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
  • Flowers: Spring.
  • Flower Details: Pink, changing to purple at maturity. Heterostylous (plants carry two kinds of flower). Tubular. Trumpets.
  • Fruit: Egg-shaped nutlets. Contain one seed.
  • Foliage: Evergreen or Herbaceous. Clump firming. Rosette. Narrow lanceolate to oval. White or silver freckles.
  • Sow Outside: Cover seed. Start of spring. Does not usually stay true from seed.
  • Sow Inside: Germination time: 4 to 6 weeks. Temperature: 60 to 65°F (15—18°C). Two months in advance. Transplant outdoors in autumn. Spacing 6 to 18 inches (15—45 cm).
  • Requirements and care: Full to partial shade. Moist, cool Soil. Rich soil. Provide a spring feed. Spring mulch. Regular watering to maintain moist soil. Divide every four years to maintain vigor. Propagate: by dividing in the spring in cooler areas or the autumn in warmer areas.
  • Family: Boraginaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Forget-me-nots and Borage plants.
  • Miscellaneous: Attracts moths from the Coleophoridae family.

How to Grow Lungwort and Other Pulmonaria

It is best to grow Lungwort and other Pulmonaria plants from divided plants (divide in spring) or plants purchased in a garden center.

If growing from seed then beware that the resultant plants will often be of lower quality. However, if you plan to grow from seed, this is how to do it. Seeds should be sown at the start of spring; once sown lightly cover the seeds topsoil. Depending upon the species size they should be spaced from 15 to 45 cm apart. Lungwort can grow in fully and partially shaded areas of the garden and like a rich soil that moist and cool.

You can start off indoors about two months in advance (plant out in autumn). The seeds will take about 4 to 7 weeks to germinate at 15 to 17 degrees centigrade.

Caring for Pulmonaria

These plants like to grow in soil that is cool and moist, so they require regular watering and should be mulched in the spring. Additionally they will thrive if fed with fertilizer at the same time. To maintain vigour divide the Pulmonaria plants every four years; this is also the way to propagate the plants and should be done in the spring.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Pulmonaria plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Summer-forget-me-not and Myosotis plants.