Monday, April 26, 2010

Brunnera - Siberian Bugloss

Not well known but one of my favorite perennials. I have grown it in various landscapes with near 100 % survival rate. With some of the interesting foliar forms reminiscent of Hostas that have been developed; this plant is destined for stardom.

* photos taken on April 12 2012 in Columbia, MD

Brunnera macrophylla ( Siberian Bugloss )
A fast growing long lived groundcover perennial reaching up to 2 x 3.5 feet in size, that is native to forests of the Caucasus.
The attractive foliage is large, ovate, heart shaped, up to 12 x 10 inches. The deep green foliage is deciduous lasting up until the first fall frost.
The bright blue flowers are borne on dainty sprays lasting about a month during mid to late spring. Dead heading and tidying up after is recommended in order to get a superior clump of ornamental foliage for the summer and fall. Can be cut to ground in mid summer to rejuvenate which takes about 3 weeks.
Hardy zones 2 to 7 and thrives on moist, cool, humus-rich, fertile, well drained soil. Grows well in partial shade to shade and tolerates dense shade or sun. Mulch to keep roots cool and moist or plant may dieback and go dormant during summer. Brunnera is NOT often eaten by deer, they are also not prone to insect pests or disease. Plants can be divided every 3 or more years during autumn or early spring.
The variegated varieties looks great in planters, especially with burgundy color plants.

* photo taken on Apr 11 2010 in Washington, D.C.

* photo taken on April 18 2010 in Washington D.C.

* photos taken on May 14 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 14 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on Apr 21 2018 in Columbia, MD

'Alexander the Great'
Similar to 'Jack Frost' but much larger, reaching up to 1.5 x 3 feet in size, with huge foliage.

'Dawson's White'
Very attractive with foliage boldly variegated with a wide white margin. The leaves reach up to 9.5 x 9 inches on a clump reaching up to 15 x 33 inches in size.
This variety is sometimes prone to reverting to the all green wild form; any all green shoots should be removed.

* photo taken in Columbia, MD on April 23 2010

'Hadspen Cream'

Apple green foliage with an irregular creamy yellow margin.
The flowers are blue-purple in spring.
It forms a vigorous clump reaching up to 15 x 28 inches in size.

'Jack Frost'
Forms a clump reaching up to 18 x 31 inches. Spectacular foliage is silver-white with a bold deep green network of veins and leaf border.
The early spring flowers are clear blue.
Excellent heat tolerance. Rarely reverts to all green form.

* photo taken on Sep 28 2012 in Columbia, MD

Dark green leaves with silvery spotted edges form a clump reaching up to 1.5 x 2.7 feet in size.

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

'Looking Glass'
Foliage is silvery with deep green venation; however not nearly as vivid as Brunnera 'Jack Frost'. The clump reaches up to 1.5 x 2.5 ( 2 in height incl flowers ) feet in size with blue flowers. Spreads by creeping rhizomes.

* photos taken on May 5 2010 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on annual Horticultural Society of Maryland Garden Tour

* photo taken on May 27 2012 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 26 2013 in Columbia, MD
* photos taken on May 1 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on June 3 2014 in Columbia, MD

'Marley's White'
Large green heart-shape leaves and white flowers in early spring.

'Sea Heart'
Similar to 'Jack Frost' except with much larger and thicker leaves.
Fast growing, it reaches up to 1 x 2 feet during the first season after planting. Its eventual size is unknown.
It is also earlier blooming ( 2 weeks ) and more heat tolerant.

* photo taken on May 18 2013 in Baltimore Co., MD

* photo taken on May 1 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on June 24 2014 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on June 20 2015 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on Apr 22 2016 in Columbia, MD

* photo taken on May 27 2017 @ Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA

* photo taken on Sep 20 2017 in Columbia, MD

* photos taken on May 1 2018 in Columbia, MD

'Silver Heart'
Very fast growing, reaching nearly 1 x 2 feet in just one season after planting. Its eventual size is unknown.
The intensely silvery leaves are edged and veined green.
The flowers are deep blue.
It displays superior heat and humidity tolerance.

'Silver Wings'
Large and very vigorous, reaching up to 1.5 x 3 feet in size.
The large deep green leaves are heavily spotted with large silvery-white spots.

'Spring Yellow'
Strong growing, reaching up to 1.5 feet x 32 inches, with foliage that is bright yellow during spring, turning to green during summer.

Clumps of large heart shaped foliage, up to 18 inches tall. The leaves have broad white margins resembling that of the Patriot Hosta. Clear blue early spring flowers.
This cultivar should be situated in the shade since hot sun can easily scorch the foliage.

* photo taken on Aug 3 2013 in Stratford, ON

Brunnera sibirica ( Siberian Bugloss )
A groundcover perennial, that is similar to Brunnera macrophylla, but is larger growing, up to 2 x 2.5 feet and more vigorous. It is native from Siberia to eastern Asia.
The thick, coarse, cordate leaves are bright green.
The mid-blue flowers are borne during early spring.
Hardy zones 3a to 7 in full sun ( cool climates ) to partial shade.


  1. I like your use of the brunnera as a running border. I have Looking Glass and love it. I recently got Variegata and King's Randsom.
    I really like the Hadspen Cream, too.

  2. I just purchased Brunners "Mr. Morse", leaves look like Jack Frost, but has white flowers.

  3. I just posted additional photos of 'Jack Frost'. Have not personally seen 'Mr Morse' however it does sound interesting and I'm guessing would look spectacular against a dark background of evergreens.
    As a running border I suspect the variegated forms would look amazing infront of red foliaged cultivars of Loropetalum contrasting both color and leaf texture