Brunnera

Brunnera blue flowers

A low-growing, hardy herbaceous perennial, that provides good ground-cover and attractive foliage. Sprays of pretty forget-me-not like flowers appear in spring. A low maintenance, vigorous spreader, that produces dense clumps of foliage by the end of the season.

Family: Boraginaceae
Botanical Name: Brunnera
Common Names: Perennial/great forget-me-not, Siberian bugloss

Foliage: Deciduous. Large heart-shaped, green leaves that are rough to the touch. Silvered and mottled-white variations are available.

Flowers: Branching sprays of tiny, vivid blue, five petal flowers.

Flowering Period: Late spring to mid summer. Often with a second flush in autumn.

Soil: Moist, humus-rich, soil that is damp but not waterlogged (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Any pH.

Conditions: Best in cool light shade. Grow in a north, east or west facing aspect, in a sheltered possition.

Habit: Low growing, clump forming.

Type: Rhizomatous herbaceous perennial.

Origin: Europe

Hardiness: Hardy in all of the UK.

Planting and Growing Brunnera

This attractive shade loving border perennial is useful for ground cover in lightly shaded areas of the garden. A very easy and reliable plant for damp shady situations. Perfect in a cottage garden or amongst other low growing plants at the front of a woodland border.

Plant from mid autumn to early spring in any ordinary, moist, garden soil, that is not too dry. Best in light or partial shade, in a sheltered position. Thrives well in dappled shade under leafy trees. Will tolerate sun if the soil remains moist.

Grows well on chalk and alkaline soils.

Taking Care of Brunnera

Water well during dry spells. Dead-head to encourage a second flush.

Pruning Brunnera

Carefully remove any reverted (all green-leaved) sections on variegated forms. Cut back old stems after flowering. Cut the whole plant down to ground level in November, taking care not to damage the roots.

Pests and Diseases

Generally pest and disease free. Mildew may occur on the leaves.

Propagating Brunnera

Divide and replant established clumps in the autumn. Alternatively, take root cuttings in mid to late autumn and root in a cold frame.

Popular Varieties of Brunnera Grown in the UK

A few good garden varieties are available, mainly based on the species B. macrophylla.

Brunnera 'Alexander's Great' is a magnificent large-leaved specimen, with heavy silver-veining. Provides a dramatic impact in borders and containers. Large sprays of sky-blue flowers in spring. Available from Thompson & Morgan.

Brunnera macrophylla (common form) has large, dull-green heart-shaped leaves, topped with clusters of tiny bright blue flowers in spring. Height to 1.5ft (45cm), spread to 2ft (60cm) or more.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' has attractive heart-shaped silver leaves, veined with green and a metallic sheen. Dainty sprays of sky blue forget-me-not like flowers in spring. Height to 1.5ft (45cm), spread to 2ft (60cm) or more. Available from Van meuwen.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Langtrees' has pretty silver spotted leaves.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Silver Heart' a hardy ground cover form with eye-catching silvery foliage. Delicate sprays of bright blue flowers in late spring. Less prone to scorch so it better tolerates sunny positions. Height to 12in (30cm), spread to 2ft (60cm) or more. Available from Van meuwen.

Brunnera macrophylla 'Variegata' has attractive cream leaf margins. Requires a shady site to develop its full variegation.

Brunnera 'Sea Heart' produces dense clumps of silvery foliage with distinct green veining. Bears delicate sprays of pale blue and pink flowers in spring. Height and spread to 1ft (30cm). Available from Van meuwen.