Brunner (lat. Brunnera ) – a herbaceous plant of the Borage family. The genus consists of three species, but only two of them are used in ornamental gardening. The natural habitat of Brunnera is the territory of Asia Minor, Eastern and Western Siberia. Brunnera is an extremely unpretentious flower; its cultivation requires minimal care.
Paniculate or corymbose inflorescences, include small flowers 1 cm in diameter. Petals are blue in color, the central part of the bud is white. After a while, the flowers change color to lilac or pink.
This culture outwardly resembles a forget-me-not. Brunner begins to bloom in April – May, depending on the region. Flowering lasts for a month. In warm autumn it may bloom again. At the end of the flowering period, fruits remain on the bush – nuts with a diameter of 4 mm with small seeds inside. Seeds fully ripen by the beginning of autumn.
The plant is characterized by a thick, branched rhizome lying close to the surface of the earth.
Species and varieties
Brunnera macrophylla ( Brunnera macrophylla ). A lush, fast-growing shrub a little less than half a meter high, with stems branched from the base, pubescent. Leaf plates are wide, heart-shaped, elongated, pointed at the end, attached to long petioles. The surface of the foliage is smooth, intense green, the lower part is rough, gray in color. Flowers with a diameter of 0.8 cm, blue color scheme with a white throat. Inflorescences develop at the top of the stems. They may be corymbose or paniculate. Flowering occurs in the first half of May, lasts for 4 – 5 weeks.
Names and descriptions of varieties of large-leaved brunners (with photo):
“Millennium Zilber” – a variety with beautiful large wide-heart-shaped leaves, on the surface of which there are white stains with a silvery sheen.
“Jack Frost” – distinguished by white foliage. A green border runs along its edge.
“Variegata” – a variety with dark green leaves, along the edge of which there is a wide blurred white-cream stripe. The variegated color of the foliage acquires only in sunny places.
‘Hudspan Cream’ is a plant with broad, heart-shaped foliage with a thin cream border.
“Langtriz” – characterized by saturated foliage, on which there are small silver spots.
Brunnera sibirica ( Brunnera sibirica ). Bush 50 – 60 cm high, with straight glandular-pubescent stems. The leaves are dense, heart-shaped, long-petiolate, with a wrinkled rough surface. Flowers 0.5 cm in diameter, pale blue, enclosed in paniculate inflorescences. This variety begins to bloom from the second half of May for 4 weeks.
Growing from seed
One of the most effective ways to get a new plant is to propagate brunners with seeds. Sowing material is planted immediately in open ground in the fall 2 to 3 weeks before the onset of frost.
Seeds will thus undergo natural stratification. You can plant the seeds in the spring, but you will first have to stratify them by placing them in storage on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for 3 months.
For crops, it is necessary to prepare a site: dig it up, level it and make shallow furrows. Sow the seed by 5 cm, sprinkle with earth and water.
Sowing seeds for seedlings is carried out in the first spring days. To do this, small wooden boxes or plastic containers with drainage holes are filled with a nutrient substrate.
Seeds are scattered on the surface of the earth, slightly pressed. The soil is moistened with a spray bottle. To maintain the high humidity necessary for successful seed germination, the containers are covered with a film.
Crops are carried away to a warm, bright place where direct sunlight will not fall on them. Seedlings are opened every day for airing, watered as the earth dries. Planting of grown brunner plants and subsequent care of the crop in the open field are carried out after the threat of a return of frost has passed.
Reproduction by division
You can get a new plant by dividing an overgrown perennial bush into parts. To do this, during transplantation, the plant is dug out of the ground, the roots are cleaned, and placed in water.
Parts of the bush are separated by hand or with a sharp knife. Each division should have healthy roots and a recovery bud. After dividing, the seedlings are placed in the holes in a permanent place, then watered abundantly.
Brunner successfully propagated by segments of the rhizome. After the bush has faded, it is removed from the ground, the roots are cleaned from the soil, cut into pieces so that the length of each of them is 5-7 cm.
Places of cuts are sprinkled with charcoal. For planting brunners in open ground, rhizome segments must have at least one growth bud. Planting material is laid in the holes, covered with earth and watered. Flowering can be observed the next year.
- Location. This culture should be located in open areas. It is especially important to get enough light for variegated varieties. Being in the shade, the leaves will quickly lose their decorative effect, become monophonic. Also, the lack of sun negatively affects the flowering of some plant varieties.
- The soil. Clay moist areas are suitable for planting brunners.
- Watering. Water the flower should be moderate, but regular. Lost elasticity, drooping leaves will indicate a lack of moisture. Weeding is always combined with water procedures. Weeds are regularly removed. If this work is not carried out, it will take nutrients from the flower. It is not recommended to loosen the soil around the plant, or it must be done very carefully, since the roots are close to the surface of the earth and can be damaged.
- Topdressing. Fertilizer is applied before the bud formation period immediately after the snow melts. The soil is fed with organic and mineral compounds. As an organic fertilizer, old rotted manure is suitable, which will contribute to the active formation of foliage and lush flowering.
- Pruning. Variegated forms need pruning, in which shoots periodically grow, bearing plain green foliage. These stems should be completely cut off. Otherwise, the bush will overgrow with plain foliage over time. During the flowering period, faded flower stalks are cut off, damaged stems and leaves are cut off. Instead of the removed foliage, a new one is formed, thereby the brunner retains a decorative, well-groomed appearance throughout the growing season.
- Transfer. This culture is able to grow and develop in one place under good conditions for 15 years. Over time, the bushes grow and become crowded, which negatively affects flowering. Perennial central specimens lose their foliage with age, become bare, losing their decorative effect. Such plants need to be transplanted more often, that is, every 5 years.
- Preparing for the winter. In mid-autumn, before the onset of frost, the stems of faded plants are cut off, leaving 10 cm from the surface of the earth. In regions with harsh and little snowy winters, bushes are spudded before wintering, sprinkled with dry leaves. Perennial plants successfully endure wintering, so there is no need for their shelter.
Brunner is actively used in landscape design. This flower always becomes a bright accent of any site, whether it is an ordinary empty area, a flower bed or a flower arrangement. Even after the plant has faded, it will look attractive due to the beautiful foliage.
Since some varieties of brunners grow in the shade, they help transform areas of the garden where light-loving crops cannot develop. Low grades are used for decorating borders, alpine slides, garden paths. This flower looks harmoniously near artificial reservoirs.
Blooming brunnera can be obtained by the desired date by applying the forcing method. To do this, in the fall, after flowering, the bushes are dug up and transplanted into pots with a substrate. Until the onset of frost, they are kept in the fresh air, then they are brought into a dark, cool room.
A month before the desired flowering date, put in a warm, lit place and carry out regular watering. Soon, new leaves begin to form on the plants.