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Brunnera macrophylla - Growing Guide

Growing Brunnera macrophylla

Perennial forget-me-not

Originally from the Caucasus this genus has been actively cultivated and propagated to produce a range of improved named hybrids which are proving exceptionally popular garden plants.

Brunnera are rhizomatous perennials which make splendid colourful groundcover plants in their own right. Their panicles of (usually) bright blue flowers are an added bonus when they flower in March or April. The value of the leaf colour persists long after the flowers are over. These plants therefore complement spring bulbs and other spring flowering herbaceous plants in a spring border or as the harbingers of summer in a mixed herbaceous border. They look excellent with hellebores, lily of the valley and early flowering forms of Polemonium, and Epimedium.

The leaves are mid to deep green and hairy. The basal leaves are ovate or heart shaped with sharp points and the stem leaves are lance shaped. The flower panicles can be 8in long giving these plants a rough overall height of 18in from a mature clump which might be up to 24in across.

B. ‘Betty Bowring’ grows best in a cool position. Its flower panicles are pure white.

The ever popular B. ‘Jack Frost’ has dramatic silver leaves with narrow green edges and bright blue flowers.

B. ‘Golden Jack Frost’ has golden tones to its leaves which overlay the mottled silvery variegation. It grows best away from direct sunlight which can scorch the leaves later in the season.

B. ‘Hadspen Cream’ has green leaves margined a creamy yellow.

B. ‘Variegata’ or ‘Dawsons White’ has wide irregular creamy white leaf margins and is also very popular as a groundcover plant.

Brunnera are most easily propagated from root cuttings in winter that are grown on in the greenhouse but the clumps are also easy to divide in winter and this is the simplest solution.


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