Plant favourite – Stachys Byzantina (Lamb’s Ear)

Photo of Lamb's Ear

With leaves that are covered with a silky smooth fur, just like a Lamb's Ear!

The recent cold blast of wintery weather has put me in mind of southern climes, warm furry pajamas and this plant. Lambs Ear is a perennial ground cover with white furry leaves that are a silky smooth to touch and, for those of us who havent handled lambs, are quite true to their common name. The plant will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, prefers a sunny spot with reasonable drainage and grows to about 30cm high. It has pink flower spikes in Summer and is very frost tolerant.

Experienced gardeners will know that the color and fine hairs of the leaves are a clue to the drought tolerance of this plant. White and silver leaves reflect heat and the fine hairs create a humid micro-climate. Both of these reduce water loss from transpiration. It easily copes with hot, dry conditions and will sprout new growth when it finally gets a drink.

It is propagated from division so look out for a piece from someone else’s garden or see if the local nursery has one. It is an excellent addition to a children’s garden or as a low ground cover in a garden bed as some visual interest near a gate or doorway.

Dont let it get wet feet. It should be repotted annually or after two or three years it should be lifted, divided up and replanted to keep it looking fresh and cheerful.

And the exotic latin name? ‘Stachus’ is Greek for spike, describing the summer flowers. The plant comes from Turkey and ‘Byzantium’ is the old name for Istanbul.

Could this be a Hogwarts spell that turns Malfoy into shrubbery?

For more information on the Stachys Byzantina, head to the savewater!® Plant Selector.