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March's plant of the month is the delightfully compact Pulmonaria 'Opal'. It isn't a showoff like some pulmonarias nor is it a sprawling thug that self-seeds halfway across the garden. Pulmonaria 'Opal' instead produces dainty flowers that light up shade-ridden corners and provides a valuable source of nectar for early pollinators.

Quick facts

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Pulmonaria 'Opal' or 'Ocupol' has small, pale green leaves that are speckled with silver. Pale pink buds emerge in March above the small ovate leaves and these turn into clusters of pale blue flowers. This is a compact, neat plant and can be left to grow without any regular maintenance.

 

In general pulmonarias are well-suited for clay, chalk or loam soil that is fertile but not waterlogged. 'Opal' unlike other pulmonarias is a semi-evergreen perennial and so may lose some leaves during the autumn and winter. It grows at a much slower rate than other types but still may need to be divided every few years.

 

There are a variety of pulmonarias to choose from ranging from heady reds through to white and blues and some plain foliage types if all those silver spots get a bit too much. However for me Pulmonaria 'Opal' gives that little splash of welcome colour in early spring that's just right and so simply enchanting.

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Family: Boraginaceae

Average height: 0.1- 0.5cm

Average spread: 0.1 - 0.5cm

Flowers between: Mar - Apr

Soil type: fertile

Sun/shade: Full sun/partial shade

Hardiness: Hardy

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