Lungwort is an old favourite, with white-spotted leaves and bearing flowers which change from pink to blue as they open. But not all Lungworts follow this pattern – the brightest-flowered ones possess all-green foliage and some varieties produce blooms in other colours. The role of this plant in the garden is to provide ground cover undertrees and shrubs -it revels in shade and spreads rapidly. If space is limited you will have to lift the clumps every few years, divide them and then replant. Water copiously in dry weather and cut back the stems in autumn.

VARIETIES: The cottage garden Lungwort is P. officinalis – height 1 ft. Spacing 1 ft.

Flowering period: April-May. The oval leaves are white-spotted and the clusters of tubular flowers are purplish blue when fully open. The silver markings on the foliage of P. saccharata (Bethlehem Sage) are much more eye-catching – choose ‘Pink Dawn’ (pink) or ‘Mrs Moon’ (rose). If you don’t care for spotted leaves choose the all-green P. angustifolia (P. azurea). The bright blue flowers open in April – ‘Munstead Blue’ and ‘Mawson’s Variety’ bear the richest-coloured blooms.

SITE AND SOIL: Any reasonable soil will do – thrives best in partial shade.

PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

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