Pulmonaria ‘Silver Streamers’
The name tells the tale.
Pulmonaria ‘Silver Streamers’ is lush clump of long, narrow leaves that are all silver, with just a little green ruffled lace edge.
With foliage like that to light up the shade
– who cares about flowers – but if you must
Multi-coloured heads of blooms that open from pink buds and turn powder blue, are just delightful above the silver leaves on Pulmonaria ‘Silver Streamers’.
Pink & powder blue flowers in winter
Especially when flowering begins in late winter, and continues right through spring.
Bunches are lovely cut flowers in a vase.
(Please see the “Growing” section below for plant details, and how/where to grow).
Growing: Pulmonaria ‘Silver Streamers’
– 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” (many do 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 Pulmonaria 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”.