Plant “Benediction” lungwort — featuring navy-blue flowers — with foilage plants like ferns and hostas. (Richie Steffen)

Plant “Benediction” lungwort — featuring navy-blue flowers — with foilage plants like ferns and hostas. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: Pulmonaria ‘Benediction,’ aka lungwort

Plant this mounding perennial — featuring navy-blue flowers — with foilage plants like ferns and hostas.

What: Navy-blue flowers are the hallmark of this lungwort. A harbinger of spring, Pulmonaria ‘Bendiction’ is excellent when planted with other early-blooming perennials like wood anemones, Anemone nemorosa, primulas and trilliums, and in combinations with foliage plants like ferns and hostas. Dark-green foliage is lightly speckled with spots of silver. “Benediction” is mildew resistant but not immune. Pulmonarias, when grown in shade, are prone to mildew infection after flowering. It is wise to cut the plants to the ground when flowering is finished. This will encourage a new crop of leaves that are disease-free and will look good the rest of the summer. “Benediction” should be grown with average moisture for best results and can be grown in full sun if not allowed to dry out.

Where: Pulmonaria thrives in light to dappled shade. Plant it in a location with rich and moist to well-drained soil. Regular summer watering and fertilizer will keep it looking its best and help prevent powdery mildew from marring the foliage.

Size: A mounding perennial, this lungwort grows to be 1 foot tall and 2 feet wide when mature.

Care: This mildew-resistant selection can show problems if it is grown without enough moisture. Once it has finished flowering, cut it to the ground and allow fresh new foliage to fill in for the summer. Cut foliage back again in late fall or early winter once it looks tattered.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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