Hostas are one of the plants recommended for shady areas of a garden. While hostas are both attractive plants and ideally suited for growing in shade, they have one major drawback. They are a particular favorite of slugs and there is nothing worse than a hosta with its leaves shredded by these pests. An alternative plant for a shady spot is the lungwort or pulmonaria which does not suffer from slugs. It is also easy to grow and has pretty blue or white flowers. Richard Jauron from Iowa State University Extension has produced a handy guide together with a list of the main varieties of lungwort.
When selecting perennials for shady areas, hostas are the first choice of many gardeners.??Another excellent choice for the shade garden is the lungwort (Pulmonaria?spp.).
Lungworts are grown for their attractive foliage and flowers.?The leaves of most species and varieties are hairy, ovate to elliptic in shape and spotted with silver or white.?However, some of the newer varieties have silver or white leaves with green spots or margins.?Lungworts also produce clusters of funnel-shaped flowers in early spring.Flowers may be red, violet, blue, pink or white.
Pulmonarias are low-growing, clump-forming, rhizomatous perennials. Most species and varieties grow nine to 18 inches tall.?Plants may eventually spread two to three feet wide. Lungworts can be used as specimen plants in perennial beds and borders or as a groundcover.
The rather odd common name refers to the belief in the 16thand 17th?centuries that the plant was an effective remedy for lung diseases.??(Pulmonaria?is derived from the Latin?pulmo, the lung.)?Other common names include Bethlehem sage, Jerusalem cowslip, spotted dog and soldiers and sailors.?Lungworts are easy to grow, low maintenance, long-lived perennials.
Lungworts grow best in partial shade. Pulmonarias also prefer moist, well-drained soils that are high in organic matter. Soils with low levels of organic matter can be improved by incorporating compost, peat moss or well-rotted manure into the soil prior to planting.
Lungworts do not perform well in dry or wet sites.?Plants will wilt badly in dry areas. They often die in wet soils.
See more at Iowa State University Extension
Image source: Normanack