Self-Heal is a perennial wildflower that is native to most of North America that is edible and has medicinal qualities. You may notice it growing in your lawn, as it can bloom even if it has been mowed to a short height. I have mainly encountered while out hiking, or near ditches/farm fields. If you look closely at the bloom, you will notice that Self-Heal has one of the prettiest, most delicate flowers.
Native to almost ALL of North America. Only the extreme Northern Canadian provinces do not have Self-Heal.
Self-Heal is also a rare plant in that it is native to Europe and Asia
Is ecologically beneficial, as it provides nectar and pollen to many bees and small butterflies/skippers.
A short perennial, Self-Heal grows to about 6 inches to 1 foot tall (15-30 cm). You often see them shorter though, due to mowing. Even if only a couple of inches tall they are still able to bloom.
Stalk / Stem
Self-Heal is a member of the mint family and will 4 angles on the stem, almost square like. There are also small white hairs on the stem.
Leaves are opposite and approximately 3/4″ wide by 1.5″ long (15 mm x 37 mm). The shape of the leaf is lance-like, and may have smooth or a rounded saw-tooth edge.
Blooms of Self Heal are roughly 1/2″ long (12 mm) by 1/8-1/4″ wide (3-6 mm). Individual flowers are tubular with two lips. The top lip will be colored pink or purple, while the bottom lip is white. Flowers will bloom for approximately 1 month in mid to late Summer.
After blooming a small packet will form containing a few seeds. It has been said that when raindrops strikes the packet/tube, it bends down and the flings up, distributing the seed through the air.
Self-Heal has a small tap-root, and also fibrous rhizome roots. So, being a member of the mint family Self-Heal will spread via rhizome roots and can become aggressive.
Growing Conditions for Self-Heal / Prunella Vulgaris
Self-Heal is versatile and adaptable in it’s growing conditions. The optimum growth conditions for Self-Heal are full or partial sun, moist-medium moisture in loamy soil with lots of organic matter. But, it can also grow in clay, shadier locations, and even somewhat drier areas.
How to care for the Self-Heal herb
Self-Heal doesn’t require any special care. If in a very dry area, it could benefit from supplemental watering during droughts.
Pulling unwanted plants is about the only thing you will have to do for Self-Heal.
Store in a cool dry location. To germinate, direct sow in early Spring in a disturbed location or in flower pots with a potting mix. The seeds of Self-Heal should be surface sown, as they require exposure to light to germinate.
Self-heal is visited by many types of bees and small butterflies while blooming. It is also the larval host for the Clouded Sulphur Butterfly. The foliage has a somewhat bitter taste, making it deer/rabbit resistant.
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Hi - I grew up outdoors in nature - hiking, fishing, hunting. In high school I got my first job at a garden center where I learned to garden and landscape. I've been growing plants from seed and designing native plant gardens for over six years. I hope to share some of my knowledge with you!
Additionally I am a wood worker / DIY enthusiast. I enjoy designing/building projects (with hand tools when I can!). I hope to give you some tips and useful information!