Lamb’s ears are a sun-loving perennial plant known for soft, fuzzy, pale-colored foliage.
The plant is grown mainly for its foliage, used for garden borders, or in containers. This plant is often recommended in children’s schools because of its soft leaves texture, so named lamb’s ear.
Whether you want to grow this plant in the garden bed, border garden, or in a pot. Here, you’ll learn about how to grow and care for lamb’s ears.
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Lamb’s ear or Woolly Hedgenettle
6 to 8 inches taller, 12 inches wider
Full sun to part shade
Dry to medium moist, well-drained soil
6.0 to 6.5 (slightly acidic)
Late spring to early summer
4 to 8 USDA
Turkey, Iran, Armenia
According to Wikipedia, its scientific name is Stachys byzantine, also commonly named Woolly Hedgenettle, a flowing species in the mint family Lamiaceae, native to Turkey, Iran, and Armenia.
It does produce pinkish-purple or white bloom on tall stalks in the late spring to summer. Some gardeners find the flower stalks striking while others snip off to redirect energy to grow more leaves, as we do with hosta and other foliage plants. If your interest in growing bright colorful foliage plant then; check our article on 19 Most beautiful Foliage plants To Grow.
Lamb’s ear can be very invasive in warmer climates and be very difficult to eradicate. Before planting check your local Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or Cooperative Extension.
How To Grow Lamb’s Ear
Lamb’s ears are very easy to grow. The condition it needs, full sun and well-drained soil. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to kill them. It does good when you prune or trim them occasionally, it is very invasive and can take up whole in the garden.
You can propagate from seeds but some cultivars and hybrids like ‘Helen von Stein’ do not grow from seeds. This is because when different species are bred with each other, they won’t be able to self-seed. If you try to grow them from seeds they might not grow or not like the parent plant. But, you can propagate these cultivars with nursery plants or by division.
When To Plant
Ideally, spring is the best time to plant lamb’s ear, so that it gets established during cooler weather. When propagating from seeds, start planting six to eight weeks before the last frost date; they can take up to a month to germinate. Once frost gets over, transplant it in the garden or relocate the pot outdoors for full sun.
Where To Plant
You can plant lamb’s ear in the garden bed, garden borders, or in the container. Plant where it gets full sun to part shade and good drainage. In the garden, plant where water does not get stuck for too long. Soggy soil will damage its roots, leading to improper growth due to diseases like root rot.
Do not grow them as a specimen plant. Use as a rambling ground plant or for soft edging. As an edger, keep them inside the boundary, they look striking with silver leaves and purple flowering. Besides spreading by roots, the flowering lamb’s ear variety can also spread through self-seeding, but you can control that by deadheading flowers stalks.
Propagating Lamb’s Ear
They can be propagated from seeds, cuttings, and division. However, the best and easiest way to propagate them is from division. You can divide a mature plant into 3 to 4 parts to grow individually in different locations. Below are steps to divide:
Take a gardening shovel, dip up the mature plant with its roots. plant should be at least 5-6 inches taller in height.
Shake soil from roots and locate its root ball.
Cut the roots attached with leaves in different sections with the help of a gardening shear.
Plant these cutting in good soil and sunny area.
Water to keep soil moist.
We will discuss all required conditions in detail in the care section:
Lamb’s Ear Care
Lamb’s ear plants like to thrive in average, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH. However, the plant is fussy about the pH level of the soil. But, they must need good drainage soil.
If your soil retains water for too long, add some organic matter into it. This will improve water flow inside the soil and make it more fertile.
This perennial plant likes to grow in the full sun. However, if you live in a hot region or during a hot summer, afternoon shade will be appreciated. The plant can suffer from leaf burn in hot summer with no water for too long. Ideally, plant where it gets early morning sunlight and afternoon shade.
This plant is native to south-central Asia, and it grows well in relatively dry to medium moisture conditions. When water is too much, it gets infected by fungal diseases and rot. To be safe, water one or two times a week.
Some growers find lamb’s ear flower stalks tall in appearance. If that is also your opinion, then just prune flower stalks. Deadheading will keep the plant tidy and encourage new leaf growth. Also, remove deadhead leaves to prevent pests like sowbugs.
The plant does not like rich soil, it prefers average soil with some organic manure (used tea, banana pill).
Temperature and humidity
The plant grows well in USDA zones 4 to 8. In the hot climate, it will need more shade. The plant will not be suitable to vary humid locations where fungal leaf spots are frequently a problem.
Varieties of lamb’s ear
There are many cultivars and hybrids of lamb’s ear. Below are some recommended varieties.
Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’: this cultivar is non-blooming, only producing colorful leaves.
Stachys byzantina ‘Helen von Stein’: this plant is called ‘Big Lamb’s ear’, it grows 10 inches tall and 18 to 24 inches wide.
Common pests and diseases
Lamb’s ear deters pest diseases but often suffers from rotting problems because of its close sit leaves. Mulching under leaves will help to keep leaves dry and be sure to give good drainage. Over-watering and too close leaves cause problems like powdery mildew and slug feed. if your plant is infected with powdery mildew; Read our article How To Get Rid Of Powdery Mildew.
Is Lamb’s ear toxic to cats?
It might not toxic to pets like dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses. However, when ingested excessively it can cause digestive upset.
What can I plant next to Lamb’s ears?
You can plant Yarrow, Nepeta, and Salvia next to the lamb’s ears. these are low-water plants that share the same growing condition. Plus, they look like striking companions with silver-colored foliage.
Is lamb’s ear deer resistant?
Deer do not like soft texture, pale-colored foliage and stay away from this plant.
Is lamb’s ear a pollinator?
Lamb’s ear produces striking pinkish-purple to white flowers in the late spring to summer and attracts many pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Is lamb’s ear edible?
Lamb’s ears are used medically as well as edible. Many people like to eat gently steamed lamb’s ear leaves in a salad with a combination of pineapples and apples. You can also prepare tea by steeping dried leaves in boiled water.
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Hey! I'm Madhuresh, a passionate Blogger and a Plant lover. I created Shiny Plant to explore and learn about new plants. The purpose is to provide simple and effective Gardening Tips. Hope you'll find this informative.