Brunnera, also known as False Forget-Me-Not, is a slow-spreading, clump-forming perennial.
These robust, dependable and modest plants don’t require constant attention.
It is native to Siberia and parts of the Mediterranean, but has not become invasive when grown in other areas.
Brunnera needs to be grown away from direct sunlight. The dappled shade under deciduous trees and shrubs is ideal. In the wild it grows in the mountain forests of the Caucasus, where the temperature is cool, the air moist and the soil rich.
Although these are the ideal conditions, established plants can tolerate periods of drought. In windy situations the foliage becomes scorched and turns brown and tatty.
Brunnera makes good ground cover and mass plantings in flower are a spectacular sight. Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’ enjoys the same conditions as Brunnera and the arching stems of its white flowers mingling with the froth of blue flowers is a beautiful partnership.
- Hardiness Zones: 3 – 9.
- Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade. Brunnera can grow in full sun, but it will need more moisture. The variegated leaves can easily burn in direct sunlight and plants may go dormant in extreme heat.
- Mature Size: 12 – 20″ (h) x 12 – 24″ (w). Many of the cultivars will spread less quickly than the species. The flower stalks give the plant it’s height. When they are pruned back after flowering, the plant forms a low clump.
- Bloom Period: Mid- to late spring. Brunnera can stay in bloom for about 4 weeks.
- Only the species Brunnera macrophylla will grow true from seed. Start the seeds in autumn, if you want blooms the first season. When the plants are in good growing conditions, they will self-seed on their own.
- Brunnera perfers a rich soil, but does not require supplemental feeding.
- Keep new plants well watered. While Brunnera plants prefer constant moisture, they will become more drought tolerant once they are established.
- Mulching will help maintain the cool, moist soil that Brunnera prefers.
- The older leaves may start to get tattered and can be cut back during the growing season, to encourage new leaves to fill in. Don’t cut back to the ground in the autumn. The leaves will help protect the crown during winter and you can easily prune the plant in the spring, when the new leaves begin to emerge.
- If you do not want your plants to self-seed, deadhead as the flowers start to fade. If you would like to collect the seed to sow, allow the flowers to dry slightly, then cut and let then finish drying in a paper bag. The seeds will fall off as the flowers dry.
- Brunnera can be short-lived and dividing your plants about every 3-5 years will keep them around longer.
Pests & Problems:
Slugs – Since Brunnera prefers cool, moist shade, slugs may become a problem, but varieties with thicker leaves are rarely bothered.