Brunnera macrophylla are woodland plants that thrive in moist well drained shade. Furthermore they have wedge-wood blue flowers during April | May. Moreover they are reliable herbaceous hardy perennials. Consequently every subsequent year they will grow and flower better and better.
I grow :
- 1 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ (left in photo)
- 2 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Looking glass’ (middle in photo)
- 3 Brunnera macrophylla (right in photo)
- Each of these plants is suitable for moist shade.
- They can tolerate morning sunlight in a northern hemisphere garden. However the soil needs to be moist.
- They are neat clump forming plants.
- Each plant grows to about 15 inches high x 12 inches wide.
- The plants are also deer | rabbit resistant.
- They don’t mind growing in a north facing aspect.
- Every April/May they produce long thin wirey stems with sprays of tiny little blue flowers. As a result they seem to dance in mid air for about 6 weeks.
- The brunnera spring flowers are so similar to ‘forget-me-nots’ (a cousin). In fact they’ve been nicknamed the ‘Great forget me not’ though in reality the flowers are almost the same size.
- They are very easy to grow.
- The plants are not prone to any diseases. Though like any other plant slugs,snails and aphids might take a liking to the leaves.
- Likewise they are also good foliage plants for borders and containers.
- Good for ground cover and suppressing weeds.
- They require 1 balanced feed at the start of the spring season.
- Leave the old leaves on over the winter time to protect the crown of the plant. However you need to remove them in early spring before the new growth starts.
#1 Brunnera macrophylla
Brunnera macrophylla | Siberian bugloss is the ‘plainer’ of the three types that I grow and it’s a native plant from the Caucasus.
It has large green heart shaped leaves and sprays of tiny little blue flowers. Mine grows in the shade underneath the golden bamboo Phyllostachys aurea and receives some morning sunlight.
Brunnera macrophylla | Siberian bugloss
It really does have to compete with the bamboo and I wonder how much more vigorous and floriferous it could become if I placed it in a ‘less root compacted’ area with richer soil?
#2 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ was introduced in 2000 from the USA. It has large heart shaped crinkled edged leaves with green and silver markings. In 2012 it was Perennial of the Year in the USA.
In my garden it is the most robust out of the three plants. It also has very good silvery foliage throughout spring, summer and autumn. Its leaves are tightly packed together and a group of these will certainly suppress the weeds.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ AGM – RHS Award of Gardening Merit
It can also be grown in a container. Though you need to be careful with the watering as the edges of the leaves will go brown if there’s not enough moisture in the soil.
#3 Brunnera macrophylla ‘Looking Glass’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Looking Glass’ is my favourite and is usually the first to start flowering each year. It has much smaller elegant heart shaped leaves compared to ‘Jack Frost’. In fact they aren’t as coarse. It’s a sport from ‘Jack Frost’ and was first introduced in 2004.
It also seems to be a looser clump and the leaves are not as tightly packed together the way they are with ‘Jack Frost’.
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Looking Glass’ AGM – RHS Award of Gardening Merit
Finally by the middle of summer all hints of green have disappeared from the leaves. As a result it displays a silvery patina across the whole leaf.
Brunnera macrophylla can self seed while ‘Jack Frost’ and ‘Looking Glass’ can only be grown from division. Hopefully this year I’ll have plants big enough to start to propagate from.
So maybe your shady area isn’t the problem you first thought it was! These are low maintenance plants and great to grow alongside ferns, grasses and hostas. How could anyone resist growing at least one of these!
Do you grow any Brunnera in your garden?