How you can Plant, Develop, and Look after Brunnera

With heart-shaped leaves and frothy blue flowers, brunnera is a pleasant addition to the shade backyard. This woodland floor cowl has a status for being low-maintenance and simple to domesticate and management. Its distinctive foliage combines effectively with different shade-lovers, like ferns and hostas.  Add brunnera to your shade or woodland backyard for a pop of shade and charming foliage. 


Brunnera plants have large, heart-shaped leaves that are deep green with silver markings, and they produce clusters of tiny, bright blue flowers.

Native Space

Jap Europe, North West Asia


Keen on full shade

Watering Necessities

Reasonable to excessive

Pests & Ailments

Aphids, slugs, nematodes

Soil Sort

Fertile, moist, well-drained

What’s Brunnera?

Close-up of large, heart-shaped leaves that are green and silver-tinged.
This shade-loving perennial thrives as a shocking, low-maintenance floor cowl.

Brunnera is a extensively appreciated woodland understory plant. This shade-loving perennial makes a shocking floor cowl and produces delicately stunning spring flowers. It really works effectively in shaded areas the place others would possibly battle to thrive. Its gradual and easily-controlled unfold makes this a great and low-maintenance addition to the backyard. 

Historical past

View of a forest clearing with a densely growing groundcover displaying large, heart-shaped leaves, complemented by small, vivid blue flowers.
This plant thrives in shaded areas, providing stunning floor cowl.

Brunnera borrows its title from Swiss botanist Samuel Brunner, who was an professional on North African and Italian botany. Its widespread title, bugloss, comes from the Greek phrase for ‘ox tongue.’ The rationale for that is the fantastic hairs that cowl the leaves of many species. 

Some kinds of brunnera have naturalized in North America. They’re generally used as a floor cowl in shaded areas the place many crops received’t develop, a lot much less bloom. One cultivar, ‘Jack Frost,’ a sport of B. macrophylla, earned the title of Perennial Plant of the 12 months in 2012 from the Perennial Plant Affiliation. 

Native Space

Siberian bugloss blooming in the forest, forming broad, heart-shaped leaves with a silvery sheen and striking blue flowers that bloom in airy clusters.
Brunnera thrives in cool, moist woodland understory situations.

Brunnera is native to Jap Europe and Northwest Asia, the place it grows within the woodland understory. Look forward to finding it rising naturally alongside streams and ponds, as it’s significantly keen on cool, moist situations. 


Close-up of large, textured leaves that are silver with green veining and charming clusters of small blue flowers.
This perennial boasts heart-shaped leaves and exquisite blue flowers.

Brunnera is a clump-forming perennial with a rhizomatous root system that helps it to unfold and colonize. A single specimen grows to about 18 to 24 inches tall and two to a few toes extensive. The leaves are heart-shaped and darkish inexperienced, many with variegation in shades of white, grayish-green, and silver. Many sorts have furry leaves with a tough texture. 

In early to mid-spring, tall, skinny stems develop and help sprays of small, fantastic, blue flowers. These flowers resemble forget-me-nots and earned the nickname of false forget-me-nots. The blooms can final via early summer time. 

Makes use of

The Brunnera macrophylla plant has bold, heart-shaped leaves with a distinctive silver pattern and produces delicate, sky-blue flowers on slender stems in a shade garden.
Brunnera excels as a low-maintenance, decorative shade floor cowl.

This perennial is a beautiful, low-maintenance decorative. It’s nice for these shady areas of the backyard that is perhaps troublesome to entry and have a tendency to. It makes a pleasant border and mixes effectively with different shade and moisture-loving species.

The place to Purchase

Close-up of potted Brunnera plants with large heart-shaped leaves of a silvery hue with dark green veins.
Frequent varieties are simply present in native nurseries.

You’ll be able to often discover common varieties at native nurseries. To search out rarer sorts, it’s possible you’ll have to look on-line.


Close-up of a young, freshly transplanted Brunnera seedling with clusters of tiny blue flowers and small heart-shaped green leaves.
Plant brunnera in spring for optimum root institution earlier than winter.

Spring is the most effective time to plant. This provides it most time to ascertain roots earlier than winter. Select a location with full shade or partial shade solely within the morning, and amend the soil if wanted with well-rotted compost. Dig a gap that’s as deep and twice as extensive as the foundation ball. 

Place your plant within the gap in order that the highest of the foundation ball is degree with the encompassing earth. Backfill across the root ball and gently tamp down the soil to take away any air pockets. House particular person crops about 18 to 30 inches aside to account for his or her unfold. 

Then, water completely. Initially, they may want water each couple of days till new progress seems. Don’t permit the soil to dry out whereas they’re getting established. 

How you can Develop

Brunnera is low-maintenance and simple to develop in the correct location. Constant moisture is the factor you will want to pay probably the most consideration to. 


Blooming bush of false forget-me-nots boasts lush, heart-shaped leaves in shades of silver and green, accented by clusters of petite, blue flowers.
Morning solar in cooler climates helps this plant thrive greatest.

The quantity of solar wanted will depend on the local weather. The indicated local weather space is Zones 3-8. It prefers cool temperatures and can burn in an excessive amount of daylight. In heat climates, guarantee that it’s within the shade. Just a few hours of oblique daylight is all it actually must thrive. 

In cooler climates, it’ll tolerate some solar publicity, however time of day is vital. The afternoon solar in nearly any location is simply too sizzling and harsh for these leaves. Just a few hours of morning solar is right for brunnera in cool climates. 


Close-up of a cluster of small blue flowers covered with drops of water.
This plant thrives in constantly moist, shaded environments with cool soil.

Constantly moist soil is greatest. You’ll discover it rising naturally alongside streams and in shaded areas beside ponds. Wherever the soil stays frivolously moist and funky, will probably be pleased. As a result of it lives within the shade, it’s possible you’ll not must water this one as typically. 

Once more, watering, like solar publicity, all will depend on your local weather. In sizzling climate, you’re prone to discover it wants extra water. In the course of the first season, the soil ought to keep moist always. As soon as established, will probably be barely extra tolerant of dry soil, however not a lot. At no level will it’s drought tolerant. 


Close-up of a gardener holding a handful of fresh, fluffy, dark brown hues.
Good drainage and fertile, loamy soil guarantee optimum progress situations.

As a result of it likes to remain moist, drainage is vital the place soil comes into play. The perfect soil is fertile, loamy, and well-draining. On the time of planting, you possibly can amend the soil with a wholesome dose of compost so as to add vitamins and enhance drainage. 

Brunnera isn’t explicit about soil pH. It’s going to adapt to acidic, impartial, or alkaline soil. It’s going to develop quickest and largest in wealthy, fertile, moist soil.

Temperature and Humidity

The Brunnera plant showcases large, green leaves and airy clusters of tiny blue flowers.
Brunnera thrives in cool climates however struggles in warmth.

By way of temperature, brunnera handles chilly climate higher than sizzling climate. Silver-leafed varieties are usually extra tolerant of warmth and can do greatest close to the southern finish of the vary. It’s winter hardy, however the foliage will die again after a frost. Humidity, hand in hand with warmth, will trigger it to undergo.


Close-up of a man's hands holding a handful of chemical granular fertilizers.
Fertilize yearly with all-purpose fertilizer in spring for optimum progress.

Brunnera shouldn’t want fertilizer throughout the first season. Amending the soil with natural compost will provide loads of vitamins that break down slowly. In successive years, fertilize as soon as per 12 months, within the spring.

Give a single software of all-purpose fertilizer. A liquid is gentler than a granular fertilizer, however each work effectively. Although, it shouldn’t want something extra until you’ve poor soil.


Close-up of a large Brunnera macrophylla bush in a garden with mulched soil, characterized by large heart-shaped, silver-mottled leaves and tiny, bright blue flowers that appear in loose clusters.
Go away lifeless foliage till spring to guard roots and mulch for insulation.

All through the rising season, take away any tattered or broken leaves. This retains the plant making use of power to new and wholesome foliage and flowers. It additionally retains the plant trying extra enticing basically. Keep away from the urge to prune the lifeless leaves from the plant till spring. 

The lifeless foliage helps to guard the roots over the winter. When new leaves start to emerge within the spring, it’s time to take away all of the outdated, lifeless foliage. Apply a layer of mulch within the fall to supply the roots some further insulation over the winter and to scale back the quantity of watering it’s a must to do via the expansion season. 

Each two to a few years, dig up and divide your crops to keep away from crowding. Merely re-plant the parts you’ve divided in order that they’ve sufficient area to develop. Do that in spring. Deadheading isn’t very important, however it’ll cut back re-seeding and make the plant look tidier. 

Rising in Containers

Close-up of a plant with silvery heart-shaped leaves growing in a large container in the garden.
Develop in massive, well-drained pots in shaded places for greatest outcomes.

You’ll be able to develop this plant in containers, and it makes a low-maintenance container specimen aside from one side. It’s going to want extra water than the common potted plant. Select a pot that’s massive sufficient to accommodate the roots and deep sufficient that the soil received’t dry out too shortly. Your container ought to have ample drainage to keep away from fungal points

Use a well-draining potting combine amended with compost as a potting medium. Place your potted plant in a cool, shaded location. For varieties with silver leaves, a couple of hours of morning solar is suitable. Find varieties with darker leaves within the shade with oblique gentle solely. Potted crops are extra weak to chilly climate. Within the winter, transfer them right into a protected spot like a shed or storage. Repot and divide yearly or so to keep away from root binding.


Close-up of a large Siberian bugloss plant with large green heart-shaped leaves and clusters of tiny blue flowers rising above the foliage.
Propagate in spring by division or in winter by cuttings.

The most typical and efficient option to propagate is by division. Within the spring, as quickly because the plant begins its progress season, dig it up and divide the roots. Then, merely re-plant the divisions, giving them sufficient area to unfold. You can even propagate by cuttings in water. That is greatest accomplished over the winter. 

Jack Frost

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’ features heart-shaped leaves with a striking silver overlay and green veins.
This selection boasts silvery leaves, excellent for morning solar spots.

‘Jack Frost’ is a variegated brunnera with quite a lot of silvery markings on the leaves. This makes it a sensible choice for areas of the backyard that obtain some morning solar. The silver markings make it extra immune to solar harm and extra warmth tolerant as effectively. It blooms in Might and June with boldly hued flowers which are delicate in type. 

Sea Coronary heart

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Sea Heart’ has thick, heart-shaped leaves with a silvery sheen and pronounced green veins.
A shorter selection with silver leaves and beautiful blue-pink blooms.

‘Sea Coronary heart’ is a shorter selection that makes a stunning floor cowl. It has silver leaves with daring inexperienced veining. In spring, sprays of pink buds seem, opening to blue flowers. This creates a beautiful two-toned impact because the flowers open whereas others are nonetheless in bud. This selection can be extra tolerant of solar and warmth due to its silver leaves. 

Alexander’s Nice

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Alexander’s Great’ showcases large, heart-shaped leaves with a distinctive silver pattern and green veining.
This selection options huge silvery leaves with deep inexperienced veining.

‘Alexander’s Nice’ is as solar and heat-tolerant because the final two, however this one has a really spectacular attribute. The leaves are huge! If you’d like a formidable specimen, that is the one. The silvery leaves with deep inexperienced veining can attain as massive as 12″ lengthy and 10 inches extensive!

This hybrid doesn’t all the time self-seed true to the unique. Some seedlings might have stable inexperienced leaves that will likely be much less solar tolerant. Simply dig them up and transfer them to a shadier spot for extra selection.

Emerald Mist

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Emerald Mist’ displays heart-shaped leaves with a unique combination of silver spotting and green edges, and produces clusters of vibrant blue flowers.
This darkish selection prefers shade, showcasing beautiful blue-green foliage.

‘Emerald Mist’ is the darkest of those varieties, with solely a smattering of silver towards the outer edges. Because of this, it prefers a extra shaded location. The deep blue-green, heart-shaped leaves look beautiful in a mass planting. The fragile blue flowers seem a lighter shade in distinction to the deep shade of the leaves. This can be a taller selection, that may develop as much as 15 inches tall, and kinds a formidable mound.

Frequent Issues

This can be a surprisingly sturdy plant with only a few points. There are not any main ailments which are prone to crop up. Brunnera is disease-resistant for probably the most half. 


A snail has a soft, elongated body with a coiled, spiraled shell on its back, two pairs of tentacles on its head.
Defend in opposition to pests like snails and slugs with numerous treatments.

Snails and slugs are the largest points that you’ll face with this plant. Their affinity for cool, moist areas makes them a nice house for these creatures who might take up residence beneath their massive leaves. Different culprits within the pest area embrace nematodes. None of those are prone to do critical hurt, however they’ll go away unpleasant holes within the leaves. 

As a result of you possibly can’t solarize the bottom in shade, eliminating nematodes will be sophisticated. Useful nematodes are a great possibility. Apply two remedies two weeks aside in temperate seasons earlier than planting brunnera. There are many options to conserving away slugs and snails. Diatomaceous earth is efficient, as are beer traps and occasional grounds.


Close-up of a flowering Brunnera plant with clusters of small blue flowers and heart-shaped green leaves affected by Sunscorch.
Forestall solar scorch by relocating to a shadier surroundings promptly.

The best environmental drawback for brunnera is solar scorch. For those who discover the leaves trying sickly and altering to a whitish-gold shade, they’re in all probability getting an excessive amount of solar. The very best options are to plant one thing bigger close by for shelter or transfer your brunnera to a shadier spot. 

Ceaselessly Requested Questions

If the leaves look brown and crispy, it in all probability wants extra water. Brunnera is a moisture lover, so the soil must be constantly moist to keep up its lush, heart-shaped leaves.

No, it’s not thought-about poisonous, however it additionally isn’t thought-about edible. Don’t fear if a pet has a style, however it isn’t one thing a toddler ought to munch on.

No, it’s not thought-about invasive. It’s gradual to unfold and simple to take away if it pops up in locations the place you don’t need it.

Last Ideas

It may be troublesome to seek out stunning flowering crops for the shade backyard. Brunnera suits these specs to a T. From the attractive heart-shaped leaves to the charming and delicate blue blooms. This perennial is a must-have for shaded areas of the yard. Its easy-going nature is the icing on the cake!

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