The large self-heal is a great ground cover that forms a dense carpet of flowers over time. Here are tips for planting and caring for the wild shrub.
Profile of large self-heal:
Scientific name: Prunella grandiflora
Plant family: mint family (Lamiaceae)
Other names: large-flowered selfheal
Sowing time: spring
Planting time: spring or autumn
Flowering period: June to August
Location: sunny to partially shaded
Soil quality: stony to loamy, low in nutrients, low in humus, calcipholous
These information are for temperate climate!
Use as spice herb: leaves, shoots and flowers are edible, for example raw as a salad
Use in: flowerbeds, borders, underplanting, area greening, flower garden, roof garden, natural garden, rock garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5 (-26 °C / -15 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of large self-heal
Plant order, origin and occurrence of large self-heal
The large self-heal, botanically Prunella grandiflora, is a species of the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is almost only native to Europe, but almost everywhere there, from the Iberian Peninsula to France and Northern Italy, from the Balkans to northern Asia Minor, from the Caucasus to the Ural Mountains. The plants can also be found in Central Europe especially on moderately dry limestone grasslands and often in mountains up to 1,800 and 2,000 meters (5,900 and 6,500 ft) above sea level and in some cases even above. The common self-heal (Prunella vulgaris) is more likely to be found on fat meadows, i.e. places that are more nutrient-rich. But since accentors like to crossbreed, there are a large number of hybrids. The large self-heal was mentioned for the first time as a purely ornamental plant in 1596. Both the leaves and the shoots and flowers are considered edible, for example raw as a salad.
Characteristics of large self-heal
As a perennial, the large self-healdevelops herbaceous, slightly hairy shoots that arise from short rhizomes every spring. The 10 to 25 centimeter (4 to 10 in) long stems of the wild species are often purple in color, which is due to the fact that they contain the dye anthocyanin. The growth is flat, the plants spread by runners and by sowing and weave their shoots into dense carpets. In winter, they withdraw above ground.
On each stalk there are two to six opposite, egg-shaped, slightly notched or whole-edged, fresh green pairs of leaves, which are covered with fine hairs on the top and bottom. They are up to 5 centimeters (2 in) long and up to 2 centimeters (0.8 in) wide.
The inflorescence of large self-heal develops as a pseudospiklet, consisting of several pseudowhorls, which in turn consist of four to six individual flowers. Each of these flowers has five sepals that are connate at the base, an upper lip with three short teeth and a lower lip with two pointed teeth. The entire inflorescence is up to 4 centimeters (1.6 in) long. The wild species usually shines blue-violet, very rarely white or pink. There are cultivars that guarantee this range. The flowering period is between June and at least August. As a member of the mint family, the large self-heal is designed for pollination by bees and bumblebees. Some of the front stamens have longer levers that knock the pollen on the back of the insects when collecting nectar.
Sticky eremocarp (schizocarp fruit) emerge from the flowers and ripen from August. When it rains, they open and are thrown out.
Large self-heal – cultivation and care
The large self-heal grows in a sunny to partially shaded location.
In terms of the soil, large self-heal prefers dry to fresh, well drained and sandy-stony or sandy-loamy soil. A high lime content is preferred, but not absolutely necessary.
Planting large self-heal
Large self-heal like to grow in groups. Plant them about 25 centimeters (10 in) apart. Be careful in small gardens: at least the wild species can become a nuisance there because of their urge to spread.
Large self-heal have a low water requirement and only need to be watered in midsummer on hot days.
A single addition of compost in spring is sufficient to cover the nutritional needs of the large self-heal.
The wild species tends to self-sow abundantly. If you want to prevent or contain this, cut back the flowering shoots after the main bloom. This also promotes re-blooming. Otherwise, the plants are very easy to care for and robust.
The large self-heal can be propagated by sowing. Since the types and varieties like to mix, completely new creations are often created. You can propagate the plants properly by dividing them in spring or immediately after flowering in autumn.
Diseases and pests
Prunella grandiflora and its varieties are extremely robust and healthy plants.
Large self-heal is hardy down to -26 °C / -15 °F and therefore do not require any special winter protection or care.
Use in the garden
Its robustness makes the large self-heal the ideal plant for difficult locations such as tree pits, roof gardens and rock gardens. Those who love natural design can hardly do without Large self-heal. Another option is the borders of beds and trees. Crimson widow flower (Knautia macedonica), annual fleabane (Erigeron annuus), goldylocks aster (Aster linosyris), Alpine avens (Geum montanum), Alpine lady’s mantle (Alchemilla alpina) or quaking grass (Briza media) are suitable for combining. In addition to early polster perennials – lilacbush (Aubrieta), rock cress (Arabis) and Aurinia – large self-heal take over when they have faded.
The cultivations hardly form runners, so they grow more moderately than the wild species.
‘Bella Rose’ shows itself with large pink-red, ‘Bella Blue’ with blue-violet flowers from June to August. Both grow to a height of 30 centimeters (12 in). The ‘Alba’ variety, which is only 20 centimeters (8 in) high and develops smaller inflorescences, shines white. ‘Loveliness’ blooms in light purple. The plants of the ‘Freelander’ series bloom in the year of sowing.