in ,

How to Grow Brunnera

Sharing is caring!

Brunnera produces sprays of small blue or white flowers nestled among handsome, coarse leaves in spring. The blooms look like tiny forget-me-nots.

Brunnera is a hardy perennial that make a good ground cover.  It grows and flowers best in dappled shade in hot summer regions. In cool-summer regions it can be planted in full sun.

Brunnera goes dormant during droughty weather but will reappear the following spring. Brunnera readily self-sows.

Plant Brunnera beneath high-branched trees or in the shade of shrubs.

Brunnera blooming in spring

Get to know Brunnera

  • Plant type: Rhizomatous perennial
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 3 to 8
  • Hardiness: Hardy to -35°F (-37°C); plants go dormant during droughty weather.
  • Height and width: Grows to 18 inches (45cm) tall
  • Foliage: Dark green, ovate to heart-shaped leaves 3 to 4 inches (7.6-10cm) wide; variegated forms are available
  • Flowers: Airy clusters of tiny clear blue forget-me-not flowers
  • Flower colors: Blue with yellow centers; white flowers appear rarely
  • Bloom time: Spring
  • Uses: Informal ground cover under deciduous trees; filler between newly planted evergreen shrubs
  • Common name: Brunnera, Siberian bugloss
  • Botanical name: Brunnera
  • Family name: Boraginaceae
  • Origin: Eastern Europe and Northwest Asia

Where to plant Brunnera

  • Plant Brunnera in dappled shade in hot summer regions; plant in full sun in cool-summer regions.
  • Plant Brunnera in humus-rich, well-drained, moisture-retentive soil.

Brunnera uses to companions

  • Grow Brunnera in shade or woodland gardens and waterside plantings.
  • Good companions for Brunnera include Bergenia, Doronicum, Geum, Thalictrum, Trollius.

When to plant Brunnera

  • Set Brunnera outdoors in spring or autumn.
Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla
Siberian bugloss, Brunnera macrophylla

Planting and spacing Brunnera

  • Space Brunnera 12 to 18 inches (30-45cm) apart.

How to water and feed Brunnera

  • Keep the soil evenly moist for best flowering.
  • Fertilize Brunnera with an all-purpose fertilizer in spring.

Brunnera care

  • Remove faded flowers and foliage.
  • Avoid disturbing the roots.

Brunnera pests and diseases

  • Brunnera is usually pest free.

Brunnera propagation

  • Brunnera freely self-sows once established.
  • Brunnera seeds germinate in 4 to 12 weeks at 60°F (16°C). Seeds can be difficult to germinate; freeze them before sowing.
  • Divide clumps in autumn.
  • Take root cuttings in late winter or early spring.

Brunnera varieties to grow

There are three species in the genus only the following is planted in gardens:

  • Brunnera macrophylla, Siberian bugloss: Grow 12 to 18 inches (30-45cm) tall and wide; 6 to 8 inch long coarse, heart-shaped leaves; bears clusters of tiny blue flowers in mid to late spring; ‘Dawson’s White’ has creamy leaf edges. ‘Langrees’ has silver spotted leaves.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

How To Grow Tips

How To Grow Tomatoes

How To Grow Peppers

How To Grow Broccoli

How To Grow Carrots

How To Grow Beans

How To Grow Corn

How To Grow Peas

How To Grow Lettuce

How To Grow Cucumbers

How To Grow Zucchini and Summer Squash

How To Grow Onions

How To Grow Potatoes

How to Grow Lady’s Mantle — Alchemilla

How to Grow Boltonia