Red Lungwort Pulmonaria rubra

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
red lungwort


Commonly known as red lungwort, this plant is a herbaceous perennial whose early-spring blooms draw the eyes with their unique shade of coral-red to pink. Its distinctive flowers are tubular or funnel-shaped and hang in loose clusters above the foliage. The leaves of red lungwort are one of its most notable features, displaying a rough texture and a hairy surface which can be quite broad and large, often with a deep green color. Some leaves may have white spots or a mottled pattern, adding to the plant's visual interest. After the flowering period, the foliage remains attractive throughout the growing season, making it a good choice for groundcover or for adding texture to a shaded garden bed. The leaves often form a low-growing clump, and as the season progresses, the red of the flowers deepens or fades, moving through various shades as they age. Overall, red lungwort is a charming and vivid plant, offering both early color and lasting foliage to gardens where it thrives in the cooler parts of the year.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Red Lungwort, Red Pulmonaria

    • Common names

      Pulmonaria rubra

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Red Lungwort (Pulmonaria rubra) is generally not considered toxic to humans. There are no well-documented cases of poisoning or serious side effects from ingesting this plant. However, it is always advisable to avoid eating any plant parts unless they are known to be safe and edible.

    • To pets

      Red Lungwort is also not known to be toxic to pets. There should be no significant risk of poisoning if pets were to ingest parts of the Pulmonaria rubra plant. As with humans, it is always best for pets to avoid consuming plants that are not confirmed to be safe for their consumption.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      1 feet 0 inches (30 cm)

    • Spread

      1 feet 6 inches (45 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Attracts pollinators: Pulmonaria rubra, commonly known as red lungwort, is known to attract bees and other beneficial insects which are vital for pollination.
    • Drought-tolerant: Once established, red lungwort is relatively tolerant to periods of drought, which makes it a good choice for gardens in drier climates or during water restrictions.
    • Erosion control: The dense foliage and root system of red lungwort can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion on slopes or in areas prone to soil loss.
    • Shade tolerant: Red lungwort thrives in partial to full shade, making it an ideal plant for woodland gardens or shady areas where other plants might struggle.
    • Spring interest: With its bright red flowers that bloom in the early spring, red lungwort provides color and interest to the garden at a time when many other plants are just beginning to grow.
    • Low maintenance: Red lungwort requires minimal care once it is established, making it a suitable choice for gardeners looking for plants that do not require intensive maintenance.
    • Ground cover: The plant spreads effectively, covering the ground and providing a lush, green carpet that can suppress weeds and enhance the overall appearance of the landscaping.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Pulmonaria rubra, commonly known as Red Lungwort, has been historically used for respiratory conditions due to its name suggesting an affinity for lung issues.
    • The plant may possess expectorant properties, which could potentially make it useful in treating coughs and helping to clear mucus from the respiratory tract.
    • It is said to have anti-inflammatory effects, potentially aiding in the reduction of inflammation in various parts of the body.
    • Mild astringent qualities might be beneficial for minor wounds or skin irritations, promoting healing.
    • Traditionally, Red Lungwort has been used in herbal medicine as a diuretic to increase urine production and relieve fluid retention.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Pulmonaria rubra, commonly known as Red Lungwort, can be utilized as a natural dye, imparting a range of colors to fabrics depending on the mordant used.
    • In the garden, Red Lungwort serves as an indicator of soil pH, with flower color intensity varying according to the soil's acidity or alkalinity.
    • Its early blooming period provides nectar for bees when not many other flowers are available, thus supporting local pollinator populations.
    • Landscape artists use Red Lungwort for its foliage texture to create contrast in shade garden compositions.
    • The plant is also used in culinary arts; the leaves, which have a slight bitterness, can be added to salads for a unique flavor profile.
    • Red Lungwort can be incorporated into natural crafting, such as eco-printing, where leaves are used to transfer their shape and color onto fabrics or paper.
    • It is used as a companion plant, deterring certain pests due to its hairy leaves which are less palatable to insects.
    • The dried leaves can be used in potpourris, contributing an earthy scent and interesting texture.
    • As an educational tool, Red Lungwort can demonstrate plant resilience, showcasing how it can thrive in shaded, seemingly inhospitable parts of the garden.
    • The plant's ability to spread rapidly makes it a candidate for ground cover in erosion control projects.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Red Lungwort is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Red Lungwort is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing: Pulmonaria rubra, commonly known as Red Lungwort, is traditionally associated with respiratory health due to its lung-shaped leaves, symbolizing healing, especially for lung and breathing problems.
    • Promising Future: The plant's bright red flowers that bloom early in spring represent optimism and the promise of a bright future after a dark period, much like the emergence from winter to spring.
    • Protection: In folk medicine, Red Lungwort was used to ward off evil spirits and protect against diseases, thus symbolizing protection and safety.
    • Perseverance: The ability of Red Lungwort to thrive in shaded areas and signal the arrival of spring showcases the symbolism of perseverance through hard times.

Every 3-7 days
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Red Lungwort should be watered deeply once a week, ensuring that the soil is moist but never soggy. During the growing season, in spring and summer, you may need to water more frequently, especially if the weather is particularly dry or hot. As a rough guideline, provide about 1 gallon of water per week to the plant. However, always check the top inch of soil for dryness before watering. Reduce watering in the winter months when the plant is dormant, to prevent root rot.

  • sunLight

    The Red Lungwort thrives best in partial shade to full shade conditions. It should be placed in a spot that receives some morning sunlight but is protected from the harsh afternoon sun. Dappled sunlight beneath a tree canopy or alongside a north-facing wall are ideal spots for this plant, as they mimic its natural understory habitat.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Red Lungwort prefers temperate conditions and is hardy in a range between 30°F and 80°F, but it will thrive best when temperatures are between 50°F and 75°F. This plant can survive light frosts, but prolonged exposure to temperatures below freezing can damage it. Always ensure that you plant Red Lungwort in an area that matches its temperature preferences for optimal growth.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning the Red Lungwort helps in removing spent flowers and encourages a second bloom, as well as promotes good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases. Prune it back after the first flowering in late spring or early summer to maintain a tidy appearance and stimulate new growth. The best time for major pruning is in the early spring before new growth starts.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Red Lungwort prefers a soil mix rich in organic matter with good drainage and a slightly acidic to neutral pH between 6.0 to 7.0. A mix of garden loam, peat moss, and coarse sand or perlite works well for healthy growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Red Lungwort typically does not need frequent repotting and can be done every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot. Ensure to use a slightly larger pot and fresh soil mix.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Red Lungwort thrives best in moderate to high humidity levels, around 50% or higher, which mirrors its natural woodland habitat.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place Red Lungwort in bright, indirect light and ensure high humidity.

    • Outdoor

      Partial shade and moist, well-draining soil suit Red Lungwort best.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Pulmonaria rubra, commonly known as red lungwort, begins its life as a seed that germinates in moist, well-drained soil, typically in partial to full shade. Upon germination, it sprouts cotyledons, followed by true leaves that form a basal rosette. The plant matures and develops hairy foliage with silver-spotted leaves that are characteristic of the species. In early spring, usually in the second year, red lungwort produces clusters of trumpet-shaped, red to pink flowers that attract pollinators and subsequently turn into seed capsules containing numerous small seeds. The seeds are dispersed primarily by wind and animals, allowing the plant to colonize new areas. After flowering, red lungwort enters a period of vegetative growth and will die back to the ground in winter, with its root system surviving to send up new growth the following spring.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method for propagating Pulmonaria rubra, commonly known as Red Lungwort, is by division. This is best done in the spring or early autumn when the plant is not in active bloom. To propagate by division, carefully dig up the entire plant with a shovel, gently loosening the soil around the roots to minimize damage. Once removed from the ground, use your hands or a sharp knife to divide the root clump into smaller sections, each with a fair amount of roots and several shoots. Replant these divisions promptly, spacing them about 12 inches (approximately 30 centimeters) apart, and water them well to establish. This method is quite successful as it allows the plants to recover quickly and continue growing, often flowering the following season.