Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears, Lamb’s Tongue, Wooly Hedgenettle)

Stachys byzantina is a soft-leaved ground-cover plant that ranges from light green to gray leaves. In the summertime, it sends up shoots with many minute purple flowers on them. Many early or young gardeners begin with these because of their durability and hardiness. In fact, this was the first ground-cover I ever received (from a close friend) and the first-ground cover I planted in my garden (instead of putting annuals in small containers).

Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ears, Lamb’s Tongues)
Family: Lamiaceae
Subspecies: ‘Big Ears’ (‘Helene Von Stein’), ‘Silky Fleece’, ‘Silver Carpet’
Native: Armenia, Turkey, Iran
Hardiness Zones: 4-8
Height: to 45cm
Diameter: to 90cm
Root System: fibrous
Growth Rate: moderate, spreading/creeping slowly
Age: perennial (past 5 years)
Deciduous: yes
Monoecious/dioecious: monoecious
Monocot/dicot: dicot

Tolerates: animals (rabbits, deer), dry soil, drought, air pollution, black walnut (juglone) toxins
Problems (major): none
Problems (minor): root rot (overwatering), leaf spot in high humidity, rust, powdery mildew
Poisonous: no

Soil requirements: prefer sandy, somewhat moist, well-drained soils, pH of 6.1-7.8 pH
Air Requirements:  tolerant of urban pollution
Watering requirement: low, every few days in summer
Sun requirement: full sun to partial shade

Leaf structure: very soft, fuzzy, pubescent, light-gray to silver, to 15 centimeters by 3cm wide
Flowering frequency:  summer, June-August
Flowering structure: stalks with several small, purple, inconspicuous flowers
Monocot/dicot: dicot

Notable characteristics:
The leaves are unusually soft, consisting of many fibers. The leaves spread from stolons or decumbent, creeping stems. Establishment may take a year, but stalks with smaller leaves and spikes of small, purple flowers occur commonly throughout summer.

This plant is frequently used as groundcover by many gardeners. Many beginners use this as it is resilient of dry soils and requires relatively low maintenance. The soft texture of the leaves attracts many to this.

Sources used:

A group of S. byzantina

A close-up of the foliage

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is appropriately cited first.


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