Plant Spotlight On Brunnera

Brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla), also known as Siberian Bugloss or False Forget-Me-Not is an incredible perennial for garden zones 3 to 8 with memorable foliage and sweet tiny flowers. The foliage is variegated white, yellow, and green and flowers tiny blue, white, or white with blue margin mid-summer blooms. Most varieties have a mature height and spread between 12 to 24 inches.

Preferring shade to part shade, brunnera can lighten up the darkest shady corner, so it makes a smart design solution in the perennial garden. Brunnera is a rhizomatous perennial that has stunning, large heart-shaped leaves, and tiny forget-me-not blue flowers on racemes that dance above the foliage. It’s the leaf that captures your eyes and creates an interesting resting stop in dark shade.

When, Where, and How to Plant

Brunnera loves part-shade to shade and prefers rich, organic soil. Consider amending native soils whether they are heavy clay or sand-like with rotted manure, compost, and worm castings to enhance water retention and soil content. Plant a bare root brunnera by digging a hole then placing the top of the crown about 1 inch below soil level. This hardy herbaceous perennial performs better in cool weather and needs more water during dry or hot summers.

Brunnera Growing Tips

Mulch brunnera well to help retain water through dry summers; do not smother the crown of the plant. Brunnera’s are light feeders, so do not fertilize heavily. Too much sun without moisture will scorch the plant's leaves. To prevent self-sowing, dead-head blooms. Cut the plant back in late winter or early spring. Divide brunnera every 2 to 3 years or when they become crowded.

Advice and Care

Slugs and snails can be a problem and can be trapped if necessary. When watering brunnera, water at the root level of the plant instead of on the leaves to prevent fungal conditions such as wilt or powdery mildew.

Companion Planting and Design

Brunnera functions as a delightful groundcover or edging plant as much as a feature plant within a path garden. It looks gorgeous planted en masse in curving swaths through a woodland garden. Group several together in odd numbers for a shade garden accent. It is interesting and beautiful when planted in rows next to heuchera and similar sized hosta.

Download iScape now and create landscape designs that feature shrubs, trees, and perennials for beautiful landscapes. Easy to use. iScape it!