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Tips to grow Lungwort – Pulmonaria, its characteristics and uses.

Lungwort is a hardy, shade-loving perennial. Pulmonaria or Lungwort gets into the top 5 of shade garden plants because it blooms very early, blooms for a long time, has interesting leaves for summer appeal and is quite a hardy plant. About a third of Pulmonaria’s 14 species and many hybrids are hardy to Zone 4 or 5.

Characteristics of Lungwort

– Pulmonaria are woodland hardy perennials.
– This plant grows eight to twelve inches tall.
– They bloom in the spring time with tubular flowers of purple or pink.
– They have great looking leaves which are speckled with white or silver spots.
– This plant looks like someone splattered silver paint on it. Each leaf forms a long, prickly haired lance (some showing a pale green underside). Overlapping occurs as the plant expands, creating a lazy pattern of swirls.
– Lungwort is usually found in humid forested areas with both conifers and hardwood trees.
– Lungwort is large, bright green, leaf-like lichen that grows on tree bark and mossy rocks.
– It has lots of ridges and lobes, creating a lettuce leaf or lung tissue appearance.
– Green algae give lungwort its bright green appearance. The underside of this lichen is pale with pockets of cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) that are dark in color.
– Lungworts make fine companions to ferns, primroses, bleeding hearts and hostas, as well as to spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips.

Growing conditions for Lungwort

– It is best to grow Lungwort and other Pulmonaria plants from divided plants (divide in spring) or plants purchased in a garden center. – If growing Lungwort from seed they are often of lower quality. However, if you plan to grow from seed, this is how to do it. Seeds should be sown at the start of spring; once sown lightly cover the seeds topsoil.
– Lungwort (Pulmonaria) can grow in fully and partially shaded areas of the garden.
– Do not give it clay soil as it will rot over the winter.
– Grow it in a good “forest-soil” one that has a high concentration of organic matter (dig in compost and/or peat moss) and regular waterings.
– You can start off Lungwort indoors about two months in advance (plant out in autumn). The Lungwort seeds will take about 4 to 7 weeks to germinate at 15 to 17 degrees centigrade.
– They will thrive if fed with fertilizer at the same time.


Uses for lungwort include dyes, teas, and wild animal forage. Because it resembles lung tissue, humans have used lungwort for lung ailments, such as tuberculosis and asthma. Large animals such as deer and moose, as well as small creatures like microscopic insects, use this lichen for food. Other critters like chipmunks and birds use lungwort, and other lichens, for nesting material.

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