Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’
A combination of larger than usual violet-cobalt blue-pink flowers, against silver spotted leaves, makes Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ a particularly elegant Lungwort.
Elegant violet-blue winter colour
‘Diana Clare’ begins flaunting her clustered heads in late winter and continues right through spring.
So this long season of flower colour is valuable, though the foliage interest all year is even more valuable.
(See “Growing” section below for plant details, how and where to grow).
Exceptional silver foliage
Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ is considered to have perhaps the loveliest foliage of all the silver Pulmonarias.
Because her long leaves unfurl with silver spots, but then quickly mature to pure silver all over.
‘Diana Clare’ also produces some of the tightest, neatest, and tidiest of foliage clumps.
So this recently bred Pulmonaria makes an exceptional feature plant, border for an edge, or groundcover in a shaded garden.
Colour in Shade
Few plants can light up a shaded garden so successfully, with that unbeatable combination of rich flower colours and silver foliage.
Plant Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ in gardens with Full Shade to Partial Shade, Dappled Shade under trees and shrubs, or a little morning sun. She is invaluable in the shade. But she can not tolerate hot afternoon sun.
Given the Shade they love, and retentive soil laced with organic matter, so the water does not race through, then Pulmonaria are not thirsty plants. Normal average garden watering is more than enough. Plus they can tolerate some periods of dry in shade because they have robust rhizome roots that can forage for water and nutrients well.
And they are particularly fond of clay based soils as long as they are not waterlogged.
Clustered heads that change colour
Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ has the loveliest, large, tight clustered heads of blooms.
But they become pure magic as they transition from pink buds, through rich violet flowers, to deep cobalt blue.
It is thought the colour change indicates to pollinators, which flowers have already been visited. So during the difficult days of winter, when our winged friends may not always be able to fly, they do not waste scarce energy.
Growing: Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’
– Height with flowers: 30cm. approx.
– Width: Neat, round dense clump of foliage to a diameter of approx. 60cm.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial clump that is In no way invasive.
Multiple plants make a beautiful groundcover in the shade, or as an edge for a shdy path.
Where & how to grow
– Position: Full Shade to Part Shade, Morning Sun or Dappled Shade under trees and shrubs. Dislike direct hot summer sun, though a position under deciduous trees, where they get winter-early spring sun is fine, as it is not too hot. They are equally happy in year round shade.
– Soil: Pulmonarias are quite partial to lime, so they relish soil with a pH in the neutral to alkaline range. They like well-drained soil, as long as it has enough organic matter in it to retain moisture long enough for the roots to take it up.
They are after all natural born woodland plants, so they really thank you for leaf litter, compost, and any organic matter you can provide.
– Water: Water-wise in shade gardens.
Nor are Pulmonarias hungry plants, so they require little to no extra fertilizing.
– Frost: Extremely frost hardy and ignores even very hard frosts to well below -10C.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Because of their exceptionally early flowering season in winter, Pulmonaria are a wonderful source of nectar at a critical time for bees, butterflies and other beneficial pollinators.
– Care: Pulmonarias are hardy, easy, low maintenance plants. The only annual work is to tidy up the clump after flowering, by cutting spent flowers stems and the foliage down to the socks. This encourages fresh, new decorative leaves.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Bliss!! Both rabbits and deer dislike the taste of Pulmonaria.
Pulmonaria is native to Europe and western Asia, and occurs widely. It grows happily from the summer heat of central Italy and Croatia, to the winter chills of Sweden and Denmark. So Pulmonaria is clearly a very hardy and adaptable family of plants.
Pulmonaria is a woodland plant in both deciduous and evergreen forest and woodlands, and has a particular liking for limestone country. It also favours areas with heavier clay based soils, as long as they are not waterlogged, making it very handy for gardeners dealing with clay.
A busy plant in history
“Pulmonaria” or “Lungwort” are rather unattractive names for such a pretty plant. But fortunately across the centuries, it has also acquired some more romantic common names .
Some of the most popular are “Mary’s Tears”, “Our Lady’s Milk Drops”, “Jerusalem Cowslip”, “Soldiers and Sailors”, and “Spotted Dog” (it does slightly remind of a green Dalmation dog I suppose, with all those silver spots).
“Lungwort” – a sign from heaven
The “Doctrine of Signatures” was a powerful belief amongst medieval healers and the faithful.
It explained that God had conveniently signed which plants we should use to treat which diseases. So the silver spotted leaves of Pulmonarias was a clear indication from heaven that this plant should be used to treat lung diseases such as Tuberculosis, which also produced similar spots on the lungs.
Hence the family name of “Pulmonaria”, which comes from the Latin word for lung, “Pulmo”.