Lungwort, grow a lung disease pharmacy in your own garden!

Planting and caring for lungwort

A unique grassy flower plant that blooms even in full shade, lungwort has delicately dotted leaves to display, a refreshing wonder.

Key lungwort facts

Name – Pulmonaria
FamilyBoraginaceae
Type – perennial

Height – 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm)
Exposure – part sun
Soil – ordinary, well drained

Flowering – March to June

Planting lungwort

When planting lungwort, the best season is fall, but you can also plant over winter until spring as long as you avoid frost spells.

Even though it loves shade, it will need a little bit of sun if you want many nice flowers.

  • Mix regular garden soil with soil mix and water. Lungwort likes well drained soil.
  • When sowing from seed, best is direct sowing at the beginning of spring, this will ensure you’ll get some blooming the year after.
  • Water well over the first months after planting.

The best way to propagate your lungwort is to divide the clumps in fall.

Interesting varieties for you to plant in your garden

  • Lungwort pulmonaria varietiesPulmonaria longifolia, the long-leaved lungwort.
  • Pulmonaria officinalis, is edible even in a daily diet, and it’s excellent in ensure that the respiratory system functions optimally.
  • Pulmonaria affinis, a nearly identical species that is typically found in higher altitudes (in Europe across the Alps and the Pyrenees mountain ranges). It also sports green and white leaves, and its small flowers shift in tone as they develop, starting out pink and turning blue when mature.
  • Pulmonaria angustifolia, the thin-leaved lungwort
  • Pulmonaria saccharata, latin for “sugar-dusted” but also called Bethlehem lungwort

Proper lungwort care

An easy plant to care for without much maintenance, lungwort actually won’t need any attention at all once it’s properly settled in. Remove wilted flowers regularly (this is called deadheading). Lungwort is among the first flowers to bloom right at the end of winter at the onset of spring. Vulnerable to powdery mildew, it’s best to avoid getting the leaves wet when watering.

Learn more about Pulmonaria

Leafage stays wonderful in the landscaping even in fallThe archetype of melliferous flowers, lungwort is a magnificent ground cover perennial. It owes its name to the spots on its leaves and to its incredible helpfulness in treating all sorts of bronchial disorders (taken simply as tea).

It bears cute little pink flowers that turn blue as they age. Whether you need to flower up a spot under shade trees or decorate a flower bed or planter, lungwort won’t give you any trouble at all.

The botanical name for the plant comes from latin “pulmonaria radicula” because its root was used to treat respiratory and hence lung-related ailments.

Pulmonaria officinalis is a much-appreciated plant, known for its health benefits in relation to breathing problems.

It’s also an uncommon discovery in the kitchen, where it can be prepared both raw or cooked.

Smart tip about lungwort

This plant needs shade and cool soil. Do follow the urge to water in summer, especially if the weather is hot.


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Spreading and blooming by normanack under © CC BY 2.0
Leaf and flowers by Jan Borlaug under © CC BY-SA 2.0
Leaves in fall by Ross Dunn under © CC BY-SA 2.0