Wednesday, 1 April 2009

One to recommend!!

This plant is a stonker!  

Beautiful glaucous, furry leaves.  Purple orchid-like flowers.  A wonderful habit and drought 
tolerant.  This plant is so versatile and so useful, be it in your own gardens or in other projects (e.g. sensory gardens).

Someone give me a reason not to grow it!

This plant is not, by any means, a rarity and it is often overlooked by gardeners but I urge you not to overlook this the next time you come across it.    This plant has many common names with references to its amazing leaves: Lamb's ears, Cat's ears, Rabbit's ears . . . you get the picture!  I know it as Stachys byzantina.

Where I live this plant appears evergreen, in fact its leaves die back in Spring but are replaced in the blink of an eye with new growth.  

The plant flowers in mid summer and although the flowers are not huge they are absolutely gorgeous close up.  Very much orchid-like.  I do not have a close up picture of the flowers but left is a picture of the flower spikes.

Like I said earlier in the post, the habit of this plant is wonderful and it compliments the gravel garden particularly well. The contrast between its silvery leaves and the gravel itself is fantastic but the plant can be used in the front of borders and pretty much anywhere else you wish to plant it.

I was given a small offset of this plant, no longer small, by my friend and fellow blogger Pan (  Since then I have divided it several times and placed it all around the garden.  It is so easy to propagate this plant, as it pretty much does all the hard work for you.  It is a self-layering plant so all you have to do is find a rooting section, cut it out and plant it.

The next time you come across this plant I urge you to purchase it, and I can assure you that you won't be disappointed!


  1. I have one of these it is great - just gets on with it.

  2. I can only think of one reason not to grow it, Ryan, and that's because you can't eat it!!

    But I agree, it's beautiful.

    Keep it up!

  3. Great pictures Ryan, I would respectfully suggest that due to this plants habitat, nature and appearance it should be included on the plant list of every guerilla gardener?!

  4. Most certainly Pan!! As guerilla gardens have no defined owner and carer its drought tolerance and other qualities would make it ideal for that purpose!

  5. We have tons of lamb's ear and we love it. We use it as a border plant. We'll let it flower and then cut it back for a whole new look. Great, great plant.
    Ryan, I love reading your blog to pick up new vocabulary. A "stonker". Ha ha. That's a new one on me.

  6. Never had lambs ear. Oh great !... now you've given me another one that I have to consider.
    You asked about the numbers regarding "zones"? Try this Zones.

  7. Ooops..... just yanked mine out as it was too woody and lanky and tends to rot in the centre if it's too wet.... felt like a monsoon here in Canada last year! It was a wonderful plant... all furry, and you're dead on with the orchid like appearance of the flowers!

  8. Hi Ryan, thanks for the comment on my blog,glad you like the tumbling pots! I hope you are feeling better daily and no better pick me up than spending time in the garden.Welcome to blog land and yours is shaping up to be a good one, I hope you added the teabags (of the numerous cups of tea ) to the compost heap.
    Best wishes

  9. I actually believe that my compost will be 25% tea! lol

  10. I completely agree, but sadly it died with us. Our ground varies between fairly and very heavy which it didn't like. I'll get some more and try again though, in the driest spot!

  11. I have and love this plant, too. It is crazy-easy to transplant and divide. I moved a clump in February and it hasn't suffered at all.

    Mine grows fine in clay soil that has been very lightly amended with compost.

  12. This is my husband's favorite plant-- and so obliging with its reasonably rapid spread. Unfortunately, it is also beloved of voles in winter-- but it ususally springs back well.

  13. Excellent pictures. Love the Hungry Caterpillar I expect the kids loved it.


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