Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Plant of the Week: Self-Heal

 Alright, "Self-Heal" sounds really boring, like gnawing on a dry granola bar.  However, Prunella vulgaris has more to it than health benefits.  This ground-cover with purple flowers, as shown above and procured through Wikispecies is the native I've been looking for!  A sun (or part shade) loving, native ground-cover with enchanting lavender blooms, Prunella prefers moist soils and enjoys running rampant and can even be invasive.  With that in mind, I've got mine on the regular drought tolerant water system to prevent introducing a monster.  (My disclaimer:  Please plant responsibly- don't let monsters take over your garden) 
I first saw it on the green roof of the CA Academy of Sciences, amongst the last of the Clarkias, and Aster chilensis, attracting pollinators intrigued by living the high life. 


Apparently, Self-Heal deserves its name as there are many claims extolling its healthful virtues.  From Prunella vulgaris' Wikipedia entry:

"Heal all was once proclaimed to be a holy herb and was thought to be sent by God to cure all ailments of man or beast. It was said to drive away the devil, which lead to the belief that Heal-All was grown in the Witches garden as a disguise."

How can you not plant something that promises to scare the devil away?

Soil:  I think as long as you don't have pure sand or pure clay, it'll do fine.
Sun:  full sun to part shade
Plant:  since it prefers moist soils, I would plant before the rains to help it get established
Buy it:  I got mine at the CNPS plant sale or you can also order it through Las Pilitas
Good for: filling in partly shady places, attracting pollinators, fueling your witch doctor hobbies.


  1. NIce, I can't wait to see it in person...I'll be up there in a couple weeks to visit the Academy of Arts & Sciences!

  2. Oh, how exciting! Definitely spend some time on the roof. That and the rainforest were my favorite parts. The planetarium... not so much for me. It made me dizzy!