Pulmonaria is a perennial with especially interesting foliage. Common names are lungwort and Bethlehem Sage, and they are hardy in zones 2-8.
This plant is a star in the shade garden, used either as a low-growing focal point or as an edger. It has coarse silver-splashed, elongated leaves that deer avoid, probably because of the hairy foliage, but the silver markings light up a shade bed. Its trumpet-shaped flowers with colors that are blue, white, pink, or raspberry bloom each spring. There is an 8-inch tall cultivar âBaby Blue' with flowers that at first are pink but then turn blue.
Pulmonarias need moist but well-drained soil to withstand summer heat.
The one problem with these plants is susceptibility to powdery mildew. The cultivars that I have mentioned today are resistant. However, this disease will not kill lungworts and some actually goes unnoticed, especially when cultivars have a lot of silver on their leaves. For instance, two taller Pulmonarias-âSilver Streamers' and âCotton Cool'-have upright leaves that are almost completely silver rather than having just silver splotches. They are not mildew resistant, but the mildew is not noticeable at all.