Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Perennials

Lamb's Ears

by Paul Simon


Stachys byzantina

A hardy perennial most known for its thick woolly leaves, not its flowers.

About This Plant

Lamb's Ears is a very hardy and strong-growing perennial, with thick white-wooly foliage, valued as a dense, low growing, spreading bedding plant in the landscape. Lamb's Ears works well when filling an area of your landscape and as a border perennial, with pink-purple flower spikes during the summer season. The foliage provides striking silvery color and unique velvety soft textural qualities.

Special Features

Stachys byzantina 'Helen von Stein', also known as 'Big Ears' has attractive and fragrant foliage and rarely sends up flower spikes.

Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet'is most known for its strikingly attractive silvery-green leaves, but rarely blooms.

Site Selection

The plant grows best in full sun and well-drained soil and can tolerate poor-soil conditions. Stachys byzantina is best grown in zones 4-7.

Planting Instructions

Plant in spring, spacing plants 1 to 3 feet apart, depending on the variety. Prepare the garden bed by using a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 to 15 inches, then mix in a 2- to 4-inch layer of compost. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the pot the plant is in. Carefully remove the plant from its container and place it in the hole so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Carefully fill in around the root ball and firm the soil gently. Water thoroughly.

Care

Too much standing water captured within the leaves can result in leaf rot. Avoid this condition by dividing established dense growth. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years as new growth begins in the spring, lifting plants and dividing them into clumps. Cut back flowering stems close to ground level after they have finished blooming and they will sprout healthy new stems and leaves. An annual shearing renews the plant, removes all the dead leaves, and makes this plant grow neat and compact. Apply a thin layer of compost each spring, followed by a 2-inch layer of mulch to retain moisture and control weeds.
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