Lambs Ear

close up of a fuzzy blue green plant

Lambs ear (Stachys byzantine) is native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. It was used in the civil war days as bandages. It’s extremely soft outer coating and astringent properties make it the perfect bandage that helps slow bleeding. It was also found to be used in the medieval times for the same usage.

These plants bloom green with silver-gray-green fuzzy leaves with a pinkish purple or white spikey flower. The flower blooms in the late spring to early summer. However, a lot of gardeners remove the flower stalks before the flower will even bloom. Lamb’s ear can grow anywhere from six to eight inches in height and twelve inches in width; they do not get very big. They are a low growing plant that does best in zones 4 to 8.

They, not surprisingly, got their name because they look and feel like lambs ears. They like full sun and don’t need a lot of watering (only a medium amount). They are drought tolerant and also tolerant to many animals such as rabbits. One problem this plant has is that it tends to rot and develop diseases in humid summer climates. Well drained soils are a necessity for this plant. Another thing about this plant is that it can become invasive in warmer climates and hard to eliminate.

This plant is not one that instantly strikes out to many, it is very plain and usually doesn’t have any flowers. It is not the best specimen plant. However, they look great as fillers. They look best rambling as ground cover or soft edging. All in all, it needs to be placed in a landscape carefully. Besides spreading roots, the seeds from lamb’s ear spread like no other. Nonetheless, this can be prevented with deadheading.

Lamb’s ear is found in many places throughout Reiman Gardens as it makes a good ground cover. Some can be found near the dining tables located outside the Mahlstede Building. Others can be found near the pathway by the old entrance before the antique roses, among other places.