Siberian bugloss

B. macrophylla' Jack Frost'.
B. macrophylla' Jack Frost'. / Wikimedia
  • Brunnera is a genus of herbaceous perennials with large heart-shaped leaves and powder-blue forget-me-not-like flowers in the spring

Siberian bugloss or Brunnera macrophylla, is a woodland plant and member of the Boraginaceae family. It is equally valued for its attractive foliage as for its pretty little blue flowers which appear in spring and it is often grown in borders among spring bulbs. It can also be used as ground cover or planted in a large container.

Of the various species available, B. macrophylla 'Jack Frost' is the most suited to growing in southern Spain as it can withstand more heat in the summer than other species. However, it does need adequate shade, especially in the afternoons during the summer, and a rich, moisture retentive soil.

Once established it can form a clump 60cm across by 30-45cm tall.

The hybrid 'Jack Frost' has striking, large, silvery leaves with green veining and border. The leaves will stay on the plant all year but the best seasons for this plant are from autumn until early summer.

The flowers look very similar to forget-me nots' powder-blue, five petalled blooms. They are held in racemes on dainty stems above the foliage and attract bees and butterflies.

In early summer the spent flowers should be snipped off and through the hottest months it may be necessary to remove any damaged or brown leaves to keep it looking tidy.

Propagation is by seed (Siberian bugloss may also self-seed around the garden) or by lifting and dividing the rhizomous roots in winter.

The genus is named after Swiss botanist Samuel Brunner (1790-1844) and the common name 'bugloss' comes from a Greek term meaning 'ox tongue' which probably refers to the shape and roughness of the leaves.