With its sky-blue flowers and heart-shaped leaves, the Siberian bugloss is an ideal ground cover. This is how to plant and care for the great forget-me-not.
Profile of Siberian bugloss:
Scientific name: Brunnera macrophylla
Plant family: borage family (Boraginaceae)
Other names: great forget-me-not, largeleaf brunnera, heartleaf
Sowing time: autumn
Planting time: spring
Flowering period: April to June
Location: partially shaded to shady
Soil quality: loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich
These information are for temperate climate!
Use in: flower beds, ground cover, planters, underplanting, borders, cottage garden, flower garden, natural garden, potted garden, forest garden
Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 (-37 °C / -35 °F)
Bee and insect friendly: Yes
Plant characteristics and classification of Siberian bugloss
Plant order, origin and occurrence of Siberian bugloss
The Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla) belongs to the borage family (Boraginaceae). The perennial is originally found in the forests of Eastern Europe and Northwest Asia. The flower shape shows the relationship with the forget-me-not (Myosotis) and the creeping navelwort (Omphalodes verna), whose leaves are a little more inconspicuous.
Characteristics of Siberian bugloss
The Siberian bugloss is a compact and bushy growing perennial from the Caucasus that is between 30 and 50 centimeters (12 and 20 in) high. As a hibernating organ, it forms a short rhizome.
The leaves of Siberian bugloss are softly hairy, medium to dark green and usually heart-shaped. They become between 5 and 20 centimeters (2 and 8 in) long and have long petioles.
From April to June delicate, panicle-shaped flowers appear in a bright blue. They are very similar to the flowers of forget-me-nots – hence name, great forget-me-not.
After the flowering period, the Siberian bugloss forms inconspicuous nuts that contain a large number of seeds.
Siberian bugloss – cultivation and care
The Siberian bugloss thrives best in partial shade or shade. If the soil is moist, it can also be a sunny place. However, avoid locations in the blazing midday sun.
A humus-loamy, well drained and moist garden soil is ideal and supports the perennials’ self-seeding.
Planting Siberian bugloss
You can put Siberian bugloss in a suitable place in the garden in spring, then the plant will be well rooted by winter. With six to eight plants per square meter, a closed cover of leaves forms in the second year, which reliably suppresses weeds.
Although the Siberian bugloss can temporarily deal with drought. But it prefers a refreshing rain shower rather than dryness. Therefore, you should preferably water this plant regularly if there is no rain or if it is in the bucket.
- use lime-deficient to lime-free water
- do not pour on the leaves
- pour directly onto the root area
- water every 1 to 2 days on hot summer days (if there is no rain)
The plant needs nutrient-rich soil for abundant flowering. For this, mix in some compost before planting. It is advisable, but not a must, to fertilize from spring until the end of flowering. Suitable fertilizers are compost, horn shavings, slow release fertilizer or liquid fertilizer for perennials
In early spring, the Siberian bugloss should be divided with a spade before the first flower buds form at the end of March. When transplanting, the perennial often sprouts out of the root pieces that have remained in the ground.
You can propagate the Siberian bugloss by sowing if necessary. It is also possible to propagate by division.
Propagation by division
The Siberian bugloss can be propagated well by division, but you should consider that the long-lived perennial likes to stay in the same location for many years and only develops to its full beauty over time. However, if it takes up too much space over time as a result of self-sowing, dividing it is a good way to contain the spreading.
- the best time for division is in autumn after flowering
- carefully dig the root bale out of the ground
- divide it with a sharp knife
- there should be two shoot buds per section
- take the opportunity to remove bald spots
- plant parts again
Propagation by sowing
Those who would like to let the plants continue to grow undisturbed can also propagate the Siberian bugloss by sowing.
- put the seeds in a mix of sand and clay
- place the seed container in a bright, warm place. A bright window sill without direct sunlight is well suited
- keep evenly moist
- prick out the seedlings
- plant outdoors after winter
After flowering, the Siberian bugloss should be cut back. The pruning is useful to prevent the perennial from developing its seeds. For the second time a year, the perennial is cut back in autumn. You should start just above the ground. In the next spring it sprouts again as usual.
Diseases and pests
The Siberian bugloss has very rough leaves that are not attacked by snails or caterpillars. It is therefore largely safe from pests.
The robust perennial is also not susceptible to diseases. What it does not forgive, however, are mistakes in care such as too little water or too little fertilizer or wet leaves in direct sunlight.
The Siberian bugloss is very hardy down to -37 °C / -35 °F. There are no measures necessary for protecting the plant in winter.
Use in the garden
The Siberian bugloss is the ideal choice for shady perennial beds. The plant with its sky-blue flowers is also suitable as a ground cover for areas with little light under larger trees and shrubs. Hostas and ferns harmonize particularly well with the perennial. There are also beautiful combinations with early bloomers such as primroses and daffodils. Since the foliage is attractive well into winter, the plant is also suitable as a leaf decoration for autumn pots.
In addition to varieties with light blue flowers that seem to reflect the sky, there are also white-flowered varieties such as Brunnera macrophylla ‘Betty Bowring’. The silver-colored leaves of the variety ‘Jack Frost’, which are criss-crossed by green leaf veins, are a nice eye-catcher in the bed. Varieties with variegated leaves such as the ‘Dawson’s White’ also cause a sensation in the garden. Brunnera macrophylla ‘Hadspen Cream’ has irregular, creamy white leaf margins, ‘Langtrees’ impresses with their silvery gray dotted leaves.