Northern Shade Gardening

Pulmonaria ‘Samourai’ with True Blue Flowers

Saturday, May 30, 2009 Category: Perennials
Pulmonaria samourai (lungwort) blue flowers

Pulmonaria samourai (lungwort) blue flowers

I’m enjoying all the blue flowers in the garden this week. These Pulmonaria x  ‘Samourai’ (Samourai lungwort) have wonderful silver foliage all season, and the pretty blue flowers in spring. This perennial thrives in the shade, with no problems. The Pulmonaria survive a cold climate very well, while the leaves persist past the first frosts, giving long seasonal interest.

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort)  closeup of leaves

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort) closeup of leaves

The long silver gray leaves are covered in hairs, leaving a thin edge of green. Since they are a cross of  ‘Majeste’, they have the silver colour, but the leaves are longer and more slender. These will elongate even more in summer. The light colour displays very well in the shade, catching the eye in the shadows. This perennial shows up well next to dark foliage. I particularly like them next to the round, shiny leaves of Asarum europaeum (European ginger).

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort) closeup of buds

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort) closeup of buds

The maroon coloured buds of the lungwort are in tight clusters. You can see how hairy they are, just like the leaves. As they first open, they are pink coloured, but they quickly turn a true blue colour.

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort)  closeup of flowers

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort) closeup of flowers

In this closeup of the bright blue flowers, the simple five petaled blooms of the plant are noticeable. With the back lighting, the hairiness of the flower stalk, leaves and buds stands out. The smaller leaves on the flowers stalks are more green than gray, and often have the dots that are found on other types of Pulmonaria .

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort) plant

Pulmonaria x 'samourai' (lungwort) plant

That early growth of foliage is a great benefit in a short growing season. The above photo shows the new leaves, which will continue extending. These are one of the plants, along with Campanula, Helleborus and Brunnera that start greening up the garden bed while other perennials are waiting for better weather. After the new leaves grew in spring, I removed the old foliage, which started to fade. The older leaves tend to be prickly at the base, so I had to use my gloves when removing them.

This group gets an hour or two of light in the evening, when the sun is low, and thrives there. I have another group on the north side of a fence which does equally well.

Pulmonaria samourai lungwort plant may 29

Pulmonaria samourai lungwort plant may 29

With their long silver leaves, these Pulmonaria ‘Samourai’ look great next to lacy ferns, or plants with rounded leaves. This grouping has some lady ferns to one side, little heart shaped Asarum in front, and some blue flowered Campanula on the other side. In the shade of a mock orange shrub, they make a nice grouping. Most of the the neighbouring plants haven’t grown as fast as the Pulmonaria yet this spring.

Pulmonaria samourai lungwort flowers may 29

Pulmonaria samourai lungwort flowers may 29

The flowers are a beautiful true blue, except when they’re pink. : )

Pulmonaria ‘Samourai’ is a great perennial for the shade. They are very hardy in zone 3. The lungworts  are much sweeter than their unfortunate common name suggests. The silver foliage is attractive from earliest spring, until after the first frost, while their lovely blue flowers brighten the spring garden.

32 Responses to “Pulmonaria ‘Samourai’ with True Blue Flowers” »

  1. Jackie (Ellie Mae's Cottage) :
    May 30, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I have Pulmonaria in my yard, but I didn’t know what it was until I read your post. The previous owner of the house planted it. Thanks for the great info – now I know what I have. -Jackie

  2. Northern Shade :
    May 30, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Jackie, I like that it’s a sturdy little plant, that doesn’t need any fuss. Plus, blue flowers are one of my favourites.

  3. jodi (bloomingwriter) :
    May 30, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Aren’t pulmonarias fabulous? I was given Samourai last year by a nursery operator who wanted me to try it, and it’s just coming on now…I don’t like it quite as much as P. cevennensis longifolia, which has cobalt flowers, but it’s still pretty glorious.

  4. Northern Shade :
    May 30, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Jodi, ‘Samourai’ is a cross between ‘Majeste’ and P. cevennensis longifolia, but I guess it didn’t get the same colour flower. Now I’ll have to see them side by side to compare them. The Pulmonaria, Brunnera, Chionodoxa and Muscari are all adding a little blue to my garden right now.

  5. Joanne :
    May 30, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    I do like Pulmanaria but with Beth eating it have not been able to keep it going for some years.

  6. Northern Shade :
    May 30, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Joanne, I wonder if blue flowers taste best to a dog? These ones might be too fuzzy to eat. The base of the older leaves can be prickly.

  7. Sandy :
    May 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    How lovely this is. I have a pulmonaria but not this variety. I love the outline of green on the leaves.

  8. Northern Shade :
    May 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Sandy, the silver gray colour of the leaves on this one look especially nice in the shade. They pop against a dark background.

  9. irena :
    May 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    pulmonaria rocks! i love the changing bloom colours and the early flush of foliage. it is such a reliable plant and looks good all season long.
    irena

  10. Shady Gardener :
    May 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Northern Shade, I love Samarai also. The leaves remind me very much of Diana Clare (which you would also love!) ;-) Happy Spring!!! (My pulmonaria are finished blooming, except for a rare little one here and there.)

  11. Northern Shade :
    May 30, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    Irena, I’m a big fan of early foliage. Let’s get that gardening season started, with no holding back. It covers the ground well too, so I don’t have to do much weeding between them.

    Shady Gardener, these Pulmonaria still have lots of bud clusters to open. I will have to check out Diana Clare, since I love silvery coloured leaves.

  12. easygardener :
    May 31, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Blue flowers are so attractive in the garden. I like Pulmonarias but they are not so keen on my light soil. I’ve managed to squeeze one into my only area of slightly moist shade. I find that combination of pink and blue quite attractive. Like two plants for the price of one!

  13. Anna :
    May 31, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Have not come across ‘Samourai’ on this side of the pond yet but I am off to do some serious research.It looks a gem !

  14. Northern Shade :
    May 31, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Easygardener, The little pink buds mixed in with the blue flowers look cute, and both colours look good with the gray toned foliage. Right now, most of my flowers are blue or white.

    Anna, I haven’t seen ‘Samourai’ at the local greenhouses this year. Both of my clumps of three are doing very well, so I might divide a few in the fall to start a new group.

  15. Krys :
    May 31, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I just love how distinctive the spotted, silvery leaves are, especially when combined with the multiple flower colours!

    /krys

  16. Northern Shade :
    May 31, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Krys, the lady fern next to the Pulmonaria is just unfurling now, and the distinctive leaves look very nice next to the finely cut fronds, with some dark green, shiny wild ginger in front.

  17. Jan (ThanksFor2Day) :
    June 1, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Lovely shade plants! I put in 2 pulmonaria this spring. I never knew they had 2 separate colors going simultaneously…until I saw it in my own garden! It’s certainly an interesting quality they have! To be honest, I don’t know the botanical ‘variety’ of my pulmonaria, but the leaves are spotted;-)

  18. Northern Shade :
    June 1, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Jan, most of them do have the freckles on their leaves. I find that Pulmonaria are very easy to look after. You just have to remove last year’s leaves when the new ones grow in the spring.

  19. Marnie :
    June 2, 2009 at 8:35 am

    I love the foliage as much or more than the blooms. I’ve never added any to my garden because in previous years we’ve had such dry summers–sometimes going two months without rain. The last two years have been wet ones and I keep thinking about adding some.

    Lovely photos.
    Marnie

  20. Martha :
    June 2, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Those are gorgeous blue flowers, Northern Shade.

    Thank you for visiting me on Bloom Day and your thoughtful comments.

  21. Gail :
    June 2, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Love the pulmonarias, they are delightful in your garden. The sweet blue flowers and that touch of pink are sweet. I totally get how people love these plants! I do hope to add more to the shadier gardens this fall….it’s too late now! 90 degrees! Have a good week. gail

  22. Northern Shade :
    June 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Marnie, I love the foliage as much as the flowers too. Samourai is a bit like a lamb’s ear plant for the shade, great texture, and a good contrast to the usual shade plants. It would be nice if your moisture level continues, since it would increase the variety of plants your could grow.

    Martha, I love calm, blue flowers in the shade. They make for a serene garden, and they’re pretty.

    Gail, our weather is still late spring, so we can still add plants here. I imagine your plant list gets long, as you store up the names and ideas for a cool fall planting.

  23. Anonymous :
    April 20, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    would this species do well planted beneath and around Lilac trees/bushes?

  24. Northern Shade :
    April 20, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    #23, I have some Pulmonaria that are under the edge where a maple tree and a lilac meet, and they do very well. They bloom at the same time as the Wedgewood Blue lilac.

  25. Carolyn :
    May 24, 2010 at 9:14 am

    I was pleased to see so many people like my favorite flower, Pulmonaria, which grows profusely in our garden here in Glasgow, Scotland. We found P. officinalis in our mature garden when we moved here in 1976 and it has bloomed every year since then. The colours are beautiful and the flowers last so long. No one has mentioned in your posts that the bees seem to love them – we always have bees feeding from our flowers! According to Wikipedia there is also a moth which prefers this plant, but I don’t know if lives around here.

  26. Northern Shade :
    May 24, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Carolyn, you’re right, the bees do visit these plants often. My Pulmonaria have just come into flower again this year, so between these and the Brunnera, the garden is full of blue flowers.

  27. dennis :
    September 11, 2010 at 6:59 am

    I love this genus. So colorful and textural. Everyone should grow them

  28. Northern Shade :
    September 11, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Dennis, I love them, too, because they thrive so easily in the shade, and their foliage persists, when other perennials are succumbing to frost, so they extend the garden season. Also, the pretty blue flowers coordinate so well with the other spring blooms. The fuzzy, silver grey colour of ‘Samourai’ is extra attractive. In one group I have them with some silvery Brunnera, and another with some silver green Heuchera.

  29. Anonymous :
    November 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    i would like to buy this shrub

  30. Northern Shade :
    November 2, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Hi #29, Pulmonaria is actually a perennial, although it can keep its leaves through winter, if they are protected. The flowers come up in early spring and then more leaves appear after that. It makes a very attractive addition to the garden. I actually haven’t seen this particular cultivar around the last couple of years, although it was a recent introduction, so I’m not sure where it is offered for sale now.

  31. Anonymous :
    June 16, 2012 at 9:08 am

    is this what some people call a trout plant?

  32. Northern Shade :
    June 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I haven’t heard that common name for them, but there can be lots of different names in different areas. I have heard the name lungwort used.

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