Pulmonaria 'Spilled Milk'
Common Name: Bethlehem sage
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Boraginaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Pink
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Prefers cool, organically rich, humusy soils that are kept consistently moist. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. Plants may go into dormancy in the heat of a St. Louis summer if soils become too dry. Foliage may depreciate considerably in hot summer weather and may scorch if grown in too much sun. Although plants tolerate light morning sun, they need afternoon shade. Remove flower stems immediately after bloom. Plants spread slowly by creeping roots. Divide plants in fall if they become too crowded. Plant leaves may retain some color in warm winters.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Pulmonaria is a genus of about 17 species of deciduous or evergreen herbaceous perennials from Europe and Asia. Lungworts are shade plants that, like many of the hostas, are often valued more for their attractive foliage than for their spring flowers.

Genus name comes from the Latin pulmo meaning lung. In accordance with the Doctrine of Signatures, genus plants were once believed by Medieval herbalists to be an effective remedy for treating lung diseases because the spotted plant leaves purportedly resembled diseased lungs. It is, however, well established today that there is no valid basis for believing genus plants have any value as medicinal plants.

Common name of lungwort is in reference to the supposed resemblance of the blotched/spotted leaves to a diseased lung.

'Spilled Milk' is a clump-forming, compact lungwort that features wide, brilliant silver foliage with tiny green speckles throughout and drooping clusters (terminal cymes) of pink flowers which bloom in early spring. Grows to 9" tall.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Slugs and snails are occasional insect pests. Powdery mildew can be a significant problem on some lungworts, particularly if soils are allowed to dry in summer. Leaves can depreciate considerably in extremely hot weather and/or too much sun (scorch).

Garden Uses

Excellent foliage plant for shady areas of the landscape. Spring flowers are also attractive. Best grown in groups or massed as a ground cover. Best in woodland or shade gardens, shaded border areas or shaded areas of rock gardens. Also can be an effective edging plant for shady paths.