Lamb’s Ears are highly prized plants for those who enjoy the color and texture of their leaves and the lovely graceful flowers that bloom on tall graceful spikes. When left to grow unattended the stalks may appear a bit on the spindly or gangly side but there are methods of care that can take care of this issue. Lamb’s Ears are hearty plants and they’re also versatile but in order to get the most out of them it’s important to know a little bit about them and how to properly care for them.
What are Lamb’s Ears?
The taxonomic classification of Lamb’s Ears is Stachys byzantina. It’s a perennial plant that comes back every year in climates that feature four seasons. The plant features a velvet like texture which has the appearance of being soft an fleecy, hence the common name ‘Lamb’s Ears.’ Th plant also bears a silvery colored foliage which grows close to the ground and spreads out approximately 12 inches from the center of the plant. It is often used as a ground color. Tall spikes grow from the center of the plant reaching a height between 12 to 18 inches with light purple flowers.
Best zones for growing Lamb’s Ears
Typically, Lamb’s Ears plants grow the best in planting zones 4 through 7. When grown in northern zones these plants prefer full sun. When planted in more desert like zones, they may benefit from being in a partially shaded area. The plant does well in poor soil as long as the soil has a slight acidic pH balance and is well drained. lamb’s Ears are particularly drought tolerant and although some of the leaves may dry up and shrivel in extreme heat, the plant will usually survive. Just remove any shriveled leaves.
Control of Lamb’s Ears
Lamb’s Ears is a plant that spreads quickly and this is one of the reasons why they are so widely used as a ground cover in sunny spots. They have a tendency to take over so you may need to thin them out from time to time. If you desire to begin a new landscape cover with Lamb’s Ear all you need to do is dig up some of the plants with the roots intact and plant them in a new location. The best time to divide the plants is in the spring time.
How to use Lamb’s Ear
This plant is frequently used in landscaping designs. It works well as a flower border or to cover a trouble spot where it is difficult to grow other plants because the ground is dry. This plant should never be watered with an overhead system as it will cause the leaves to become too wet and there is a potential for rotting. You should also keep them reasonably thinned out to avoid overcrowding and allow for good air circulation. They do not require a lot of moisture so this is an important factor to keep in mind when caring for your Lamb’s Ears.
Benefits of Lamb’s Ears plants
In addition to making wonderful ground covers, these plants also come in a few different types. The Wood betony type can bloom in either purple or white flowers and this variety is classified as an herb. It provides medicinal properties. There is also a variety that is known by its common name as a Dwarf White which only reaches between 2 to 4 inches in height and it spreads of about 18 inches on the ground with white flowers. This plant is a native of the Middle East, hence its species name byzantina, referring to the Byzantine Empire. It’s an ancient plant that is versatile and serves multiple purposes.
The Lamb’s Ears plants are wonderful when used as ground covers or for flower bed borders. They don’t require a lot of moisture and can thrive in dry climates so long as the soil offers good drainage. The velvety soft leaves are pleasant to the eyes and they are useful for covering bare spots on the ground. They do require maintenance to keep the rapid growth in check so they don’t take over an area, but they are one of the easiest plants to grow if you observe just a few simple rules.