Prunella vulgaris var. lanceolata
- Full sun to shade
- Moderatly moist to moderatly dry soils
- 18" in height and width (plant at 12" spacing as a groundcover)
- Garden, meadow and woodland settings, as well as mixed species turf
- Mowing and foot traffic tolerant
- An 'Underplant' species, these can grow and thrive below and between taller plants, acting as a living mulch
A small plant with some big roles to play in native plant gardens. Their common name is a strong hint that they also have big roles to play in herbal medicine apothecary, but that is a bit outside of my expertise.
If left to their own devices in an open area they grow to around 12” in height but can stretch taller when competing with neighbours for sunlight and can adapt to staying much shorter if regularly trimmed. Why would you regularly trim them you may ask? Because they are mowing tolerant and one of a few native species that I think could work together to make a nice, foot traffic tolerant, native turf.
In gardens or other mixed plantings, they are one of the species that I would recommend for the oh-so-important groundcover role. They are tolerant of shade from neighbouring plants and excel at filling in the gaps that exist between and below other plants in so many garden settings. I introduced a couple into my Ottawa garden in the fall of 2020 and they have been settling in nicely.
They seem to be equally happy the sand and silt soil and heavier, clay based garden soil. They also seem to be perfectly happy in sun and a fair amount of shade. A patch that receives about 3 hours of direct sun bloomed nearly as profusely as the ones in sunny locations. I’m not sure how they would do in deep shade but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fine, just a bit less exuberant when it comes to flowering. They are generally unbothered by dry spells but are equally unbothered by damp soil.
Overall, these are incredibly adaptable plants that I recommend as a versatile native groundcover.
The Ecosystem Companions for this Species list below shows species that Self-Heal thrives below and around, as a living mulch layer and a lovely carpet of blooms in the early summer.