Pulmonaria saccharata 'Sissinghurst White' and Pulmonaria officinalis 'Sissinghurst White'



Common name/s ?

Lungwort 'Sissinghurst White', Jerusalem cowslip, Jerusalem sage, Bethlehem sage, and soldiers and sailors.

Skill rating



Native to Europe and western Asia.

Type of plant ?

Low growing, deciduous herbaceous perennial.

Hardiness zone ?

RHS zone


EGF zone


USDA zone


Eventual size

Grows to 30cm height and 50cm spread.

Growth rate ?

Moderate, will reach full size in 2 to 5 years.

Shape it grows into

Forms clumps of foliage from which flowers grow on taller stems.

Season/s of interest

Spring flowers and attractive foliage through to autumn.

Where to grow it

Happy in part or full shade.
Prefers well drained to moist soil.

Happy in soil of any pH which is chalk, clay or loam. Prefers a sheltered spot. Don’t let the soil dry out too much in summer or this can attract powdery mildew infections.

Pulmonaria 'Sissinghurst White'


Clumps of white spotted, mid green leaves are produced, with pink buds opening into funnel-shaped, white flowers in spring.

What to use it for

Useful as deciduous ground cover in beds and borders (particularly for edging borders) and underplanting shrubs (including roses). A good choice for wildlife gardens as the flowers attract bees.

How to look after it

This plant requires minimal pruning, really just to keep it neat and tidy. If it’s in dry conditions then some watering may be required in the summer to prevent powdery mildew taking hold. To maintain vigour, the plant should be divided every three to five years.

How to prune it

Cut back the leaves once flowering is over to encourage new leaf growth later in the season. Cut back in autumn if you wish, to remove tatty old leaves.

How to propagate it

Divide in spring after flowering; the plant will benefit from this being done every three to five years.

Collect seeds in late spring and sow at 10°C. As this is a cultivar it may not come true to type.

Root cuttings can be taken in the winter.

Common problems

While generally pest free, this Pulmonaria can be susceptible to powdery mildews in dry conditions. If you do get a case of powdery mildew, remove all affected leaves and destroy (not on your garden compost). The plant should regrow fresh leaves (unless it’s at the end of the season already).

Other useful information ?

This plant has received the ‘Award of Garden Merit‘ from the RHS.

The name ‘Pulmonaria‘ derives fro the Latin ‘pulmo’, meaning lung, due to the plants being used as a treatment for bronchial diseases – hence the common name ‘lungwort’. This view of the medicinal properties of Pulmonaria was derived from the fact that the leaves were said to resemble diseased lungs. It is still used for medicinal purposes, although there are legal restrictions on this in some countries.

The young leaves of Pulmonaria can be used in salads and soups. Extracts are also used in the production of vermouth.

Pulmonaria can be a skin irritant and allergen.