Lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina)

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Time posted: September 29, 2006

These plants belong to my daughter. She appreciates the soft texture of them, and she’s quite posessive of “her” lamb’s ears. These are an easy-to-grow perennial that had always done well for us at previous houses, so I picked some up when I ran into them at a garden center.

Lamb’s ears put up flower stalks, but I kind of prefer the look of the foliage, so I cut them immediately so the plant puts more energy into growing those awesome fuzzy leaves. The stalks are pretty tough to cut, so bring some shears–these aren’t ones you can pinch off.

I have very little other than full sun gardens, and this plant loves the full sun. Mine get a brief respite from having a tall clump of ornamental grass nearby, but it’s not much.

lamb's ears: Stachys byzantina
Here’s the newly installed plant (shot taken April 2, 2005)
lamb's ears: Stachys byzantina
…and the way they look at the end of summer 2006

The quart pot starters have grown into 3-foot wide mounds of soft foliage. I intend to divide these up this fall and start some new ones, I like them so much. I have the “old-fashoined” kind in the center, and a cultivar on the sides, a big-eared variety called “Helen von Stein.” They don’t bloom as much (hardly at all) and they have bigger leaves (surprise!) than the middle ones, maybe twice the size.

Both types were quite rugged, and made it through the rough summer without being babied. These win my “maintenance-free” award. (you don’t have to chop off the bloom stalks, I just like to do it.)

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