Gardening notes: Brunnera macrophylla as ground cover

My gardening website discovery of the day:

This past month, we have stripped our entire cottage garden of the ground cover that essentially made our little cottage garden quite lovely. Although we live in an area that’s supposed to have escaped radiation contamination from Fukushima, we’re still wary of the trace contaminants that likely may have been left by rain, so we’ve attempted to do our best by stripping the garden of the thick ground cover growth that once covered our entire garden. Since cesium, etc attaches itself to green leaves, removing most of the undergrowth as well as fallen leaves is said to help considerably.

Now the garden has been stripped bare, I am looking to once again, restore the garden ground cover, but am looking for new forms for a fresh look. Below is a ground cover of Siberian origin that I am looking to plant for awkward corners or “sleeping plant” spots to hide.

Brunnera – Growing and Caring for False Forget-Me-Not

By , Guide

Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ has been named the Perennial Plant of 2012. What a great choice. What’s not to love about a shade plant with shimmering silver leaves and bright blue flowers …

Brunnera - Siberian Bugloss, False Forget-Me-NotThe leaves of Brunnera add long season interest to the garden.Photo: © Marie Iannotti

Brunnera macrophylla has always been a popular shade plant because it is so low maintenance and it has long lasting sprays of bright blue flowers. Although it is a slow grower, the green leaved species will eventually spread out and make a nice ground cover. The flashier variegated varieties are a bit slower to fill out, but provide interest and color all season.One of it’s common names, bugloss, is derived from the Greek words for “ox” and “tongue” and, although I cannot attest to this personally, the leaves are thought to resemble an ox tongue. One thing I can attest to is that Brunnera plants are deer resistant.


Brunnera is a slow-spreading, clump-forming perennial. It is native to Siberia and parts of the Mediterranean, but has not become invasive when grown in other areas.

  • Leaves: The first leaves of the season tend to be oblong, but later leaves are heart-shaped, slightly puckered and many have a tendency to curl or furl. They can be a solid deep green or variegated or spotted with silvery-white.
  • Flowers: The delicate, 5-petaled, blue flowers come in sprays held above the foliage. They range from pastel to electric blue, often with a yellow center. As their common name implies, the flowers bear a resemblance to forget-me-nots.

Botanical Name:

Brunnera macrophylla, pronounced BRUN-er-ah, with the accent on the first syllable.

Common Name:

Siberian Bugloss, False Forget-Me-Not, Heartleaf Brunnera

Hardiness Zones:

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.

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