If you need a ground cover plant for those shady areas self heal is the plant for you. This semi evergreen perennial likes shady areas and forms dense lush green mats only a few inches tall. It's easy to establish and does not need much aftercare and is fairly drought tolerant. It produces blue violet flowers in summer for about four weeks. It's pretty cold tolerant, does not need much water once established and deer don't seem to eat it.
This interesting little perennial is pretty tolerant and grows best in shady areas. It only grows to a few inches in height but will spread out across the ground easily. It's quite easy to establish and then needs little work, but if you want to mow it down you can, it just produces stronger thicker shorter stems, and will even bloom after mowing. it will even bloom after mowing. It is semi evergreen and produces blue flowers for about four weeks or more in the year.
Short perennial plant with mid green spear shaped leaves about 2 inches long and 3/4 inch across with deep central veining. Leaves are sparsely located along square shaped stems which finally terminate in a flower spike. Flowers are produced in mid to late summer and last about a month. Flowers are produced in small groups dotted around the flower spike, not all at one time. They are tubular blue to light purple flowering from the base of the spike towards the top. Plants spread from central tap root and send stalks across the ground spreading out in a star shape from the central stem.
Location and care.
It much prefers shady locations, but won't do as well in really dense shade. Once established it quickly spreads out forming dense mats about three inches tall. It's a fairly dominant plant so don't plant it with fragile shade plants. Grouping with hostas or underplanting with spring bulbs it creates an excellent shade garden. It prefers a reasonably good soil, but if planted under trees the leaf mulch provided by the fall leaves is usually enough to keep it very happy. So don't rake the leaves! For lusher plants add compost or more leaf litter. Will grow on poorer soils but plants won't be quite as lush. With good soil with high organic content the plant can spread quickly and become well established even aggressive so outer edges of the patch will need to be tended. In poorer soils the plants don't spread as quickly and are not as aggressive, however this also means they won't beat out the weeds as well. In very poor soils some weeding might be needed until the plant is well established. Best to add a little organic material and get the plant well established, it's less work on the long run.
Plants can be mown down after flowering has completed this encourages them to create thicker stockier stems and leaves and also removes dead flower heads keeping the plant looking more attractive. It also prevents seeds from forming and spreading to other unwanted areas.
It can also be used in rock gardens for those more shady areas, or in as filler plants shady patio planters.
Leaves are edible raw or cooked. Wash well first to remove some of the bitter tannins in the leaves. They can be used in salads for a little extra bite. Good in soups and stews. An interesting tea can be produced from fresh or dried leaves making a refreshing beverage.
This plant was named because of it's long use in many aspects of medicine since it contains substances that seem to gradually restore heath. It is used in herbal medicine for a multitude of things including: removal of gas, induce urination, reduce fever, cause a lowering of blood pressure, give strength and tone to the stomach, reduce bleeding by contracting the blood vessels, heal wounds, as an antibacterial on wounds, and to inhibit growth of bacteria, along with many other uses. It can be used fresh or dried, and is best harvested in mid summer.
Prunella. All-Heal. Hook-Heal. Slough-Heal. Brunella. Heart of the Earth. Blue Curls.