Lamb’s ears, stachys byzantina, are best known for their velvety soft leaves, hence the name lamb’s ears or lamb's ear. They are hardy in zones 3-8 and grow to a height of 18” by 24” wide in your yard and garden. Lamb's ears are a spreading type of perennial that are used as a ground covers, as border plants, and in container planting.
Lamb’s-ears prefer full sun and fairly fertile, but well-drained soil. A pH reading of 5.5-7.0 is preferred. The lambs-ears are prone to disease if the humidity is too high. The spikes of woolly pink flowers will appear from early summer into the early autumn season.
The leaves are a soft velvety type foliage that is silvery-green in color. The flowers of this plant attract many butterflies, as well as bees. They should be placed in your yard and garden as a perennial border, or in container plantings. They also are used as ground cover where foliage and greenery is needed.
Good companion plants for the lambs-ears include ‘David’ garden phlox, ‘The Fairy’ rose, ‘Freckles’ violet, and Johnny-jump-ups.
Planting and Care of Lambs-Ears
Lambs-ears should be planted 18-24” apart in spring or fall. You can apply a slow release granular plant food in the spring if desired. You should stop feeding the plant 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Water the plant deeply when the soil becomes dry. Try to groom them often so that any brown or diseased leaves are taken off. You will not need to do any type of foliage grooming to these plants. You should deadhead any spent blossoms, and prune back in fall when the leaves wither.
Propagation of Lambs-Ears
The plants should be divided in spring or autumn at least every 3 years to control growth and vigor of the plants. If you have any centers that are not growing well, you should discard the center portions.
Seeds can be sprinkled over the growing medium and left exposed to the light without the need to cover them. Moisten them thoroughly and keep the plants moist, but not soggy, until the seeds begin to germinate. Germination of lambs-ears occurs in 10-15 days at a temperature of 70 degrees. They can be transplanted 20-25 days after sowing. Reduce the temperature to 60 degrees after transplanting. Plants grown from seeds will produce flowers during their second season of growth.
Pests and Diseases of Lamb’s Ears
The main problem you will encounter with this plant will be powdery mildew. Select mildew-resistant cultivars and provide them with adequate spacing and air circulation to avoid problems.
Related species to the lambs-ears are: S. Byzantina ‘Silver carpet’. It is non-flowering but will produce a tidy, low maintenance plant. ‘Bid Ears’ is a cultivar that has large silver-green leaves, while ‘Cotton Boll’ has clusters of modified flowers along the stem that resembles cotton bolls. ‘Marjory Fish’ has mauve flowers, while ‘Primrose Heaven’ has yellow-green leaves, and ‘Striped Phantom’ has cream-striped leaves and striped flower bracts.
*Tip- Use lamb's ears in creative planters to show off their soft velvety leaves. Find more info at yardandgardenrescue.com.
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