Plant Pick – Stachys byzantina (Lambs Ears)
In the summer months one of my favourite plants to enjoy is Stachys byzantina, otherwise known as ‘Lambs Ears’. This wonderful silver leafed plant is fantastic throughout the year for the border due to is highly touchable and furry leaves in the shape of, you’ve guessed it, lambs ears. However, as the summer sun reaches high into the sky you’ll find that this wonderful plant puts furry columns into the air with small pinkish flowers creating small rings of colour around the stems.
This herbaceous plant is brilliant whether you use it in the border or in pots and is a must have for all gardeners. It’s touchable, it makes you smile, and it’s a great companion plant for creating contrast in the garden. With its textured and pale leaves it is ideal for planting alongside green individuals, setting each plant off the best of it’s ability. It can very effectively be placed next to broad leafed plants such as Bergenia, whilst grasses also make a great backdrop. And if you plant it into pots you’ll quickly creating a great mound of silver foliage that will clash magnificently with containers, especially if you used coloured glazing such as blues and reds.
In general, silver leafed plants are also a great drought tolerant plant once established, and due to Stachys byzantina’s strong growth you’ll find that you can quickly cover an area with luscious, furry, silver growth. This will not only help retain moisture in the soil but allow you to enjoy summer gardening, rather than constantly having to water. Growing lambs ears is very easy and they need very little maintenance and if you buy one new plant this year, let Stachys byzantina be your winner!
Thrives In: Growing lambs ears is quite easy as long as you have a sunny aspect such as a south facing patio or border. They’ll thrive as long as soil is not too waterlogged.
Yearly Care: Stachys byzantina is very easy to look after and needs little maintenance. It is an herbaceous perennial with leaves dying off at the end of the year so these will need collecting and clearing away. Flower stalks can be cut back to the base after they’ve finished flowering, and if you want to propagate simply separate rooted portions of the plant in early spring when the leaves initially appear.
Growing Medium: Lambs ears grow well in any soil type as long as it is well drained and non clay-like.
Quick Tip: Flower stalks can be battered by rain in summer storms. Staking may be required to keep stalks from flopping and breaking but I find that a mesh frame placed over stalks when they first appear gives all the support they need.