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Stachys Byzantina - Lamb's Ears

Characteristics:Lamb's ears grows 6 inches tall with furry, oval leaves that look like their namesake. In spring, the plants send up furry silver stalks of pink flower spikes to about 2 feet high.

Growing Information: Plant about 12 to 18 inches apart in well-drained, moderately fertile soil in a sunny site. Trim back in spring, and be sure to groom frequently to remove old or dead leaves. The plant can spread moderately quickly, so be prepared to divide as necessary.

Cultivars: 'Silver Carpet' produces no flowers. 'Helen Von Stein' (pictured at right) has large leaves (the cultivar is also called 'Big Ears') and especially attractive foliage.

Propagation: Propagate by division.

Possible Problems: In wet soils, the plant may suffer root and crown rot. It can't take hot humid weather - it rots.

Harvesting and Using: Use the plant as a silver-leaved ornamental. Cut the flowers to dry and use in wreaths and arrangements.

Related Herbs: Betony (S. officinalis) is an old-fashioned medicinal plant with attractive oval leaves that are smooth to densely hairy. In summer, betony sends up spikes of pale magenta (occasionally pink or white) flowers up to 3 feet high.

Cultivars of betony include 'Alba', which produces white flowers, and 'Grandiflora', which is characterized by large, soft, pink flowers.

Lamb's Ears

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