Lungwort (Pulmonaria)

Our garden plants are literally life savers for early active insects and especially the early emerging pollinators. Have a look around your garden to see what’s in flower? It’s not just about having lots of flowers it’s about having the right plants in flower. I like to call them Power Plants for Pollinators.

There are a few spring essentials that you really should have in your garden. Pulmonaria is one of them. Its common name is lungwort, a reference to its spotty lung shaped leaves. And actually you could think of it as a spring lung breathing life into the garden.

The early flowering lungwort is a fabulous plant for pollinators Image – Jean Vernon

It’s a perennial, which means once you’ve got it it establishes into a larger clump. It will self seed so you can dig up the seedlings and pot them up and share them with other garden owners. And it has pretty pink and purple flowers, each one rich in nectar. The fresh flowers are pink and mature to a deeper purple.

There are some fabulous forms of this plant. ‘Ensign’ is an azure blue form. But they are all rich in nectar and have short to medium tubular flowers that are accessible by most bumblebees and also the longer tongued solitary bees.

There are two pollinators that love this plant. One is the hairy footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) and the other is the bee fly (Bombylius major). Both have long tongues that probe the tubular flowers in search of rich nectar.

Pulmonaria is hardy and easy to grow. You could grow it in a large but fairly shallow container, or alongside a garden path. Give it a go, it’s good for pollinators and is a very garden worthy plant.

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