What can I say? Its a plant you can pet!...Bees love it…children love it….and you just have to stoke it on the way past!
Stachys byzantina makes a great accent in between all the green going on in the garden, the thick silvery-felty stems with knotty buds are quite a feature. Lambs' ears is a well-known ground-covering perennial, popular for its soft, fluffy foliage. The leaves are often retained quite late into autumn or winter in mild areas, but the plant is not properly evergreen, and the foliage falls eventually to be replaced by a fresh crop in spring.
Once established, plants are reasonably drought-tolerant, making this a good choice for a dry sunny border or gravel garden. The common name in French is 'Oreille d'ours'. Like all silver-leaved plants, this old-time medicinal herb makes a wonderful addition to a "Moon" or "White" garden.
The flowering stalks of this plant can be dried for autumn arrangements. Simply cut it off close to the base of the plant when the head is in full bloom and hang it upside down to dry. Leaves may also be dried and used (air dry). Moisture in the air can cause the heads to droop sometimes, so best used lying horizontal, or plan the shape of the arrangement accordingly.
Sowing: Sow in late summer/late autumn or in late winter/late Spring
Sow at temperatures of 18 to 20°C (65 to 70°F), use a well drained soil and “just cover” with a thin layer of compost or vermiculite as the seeds need light to germinate. Cover with a plastic lid or place container inside a plastic bag.
keep the compost a little on the dry side. Water from the base of the container (never water directly onto seeds or foliage of seedlings).
Germination should occur between 15 and 30 days after sowing.
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into 7.5cm (3in) pots or trays. After the last expected frosts, gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out into their permanent positions, space 30cm (12in) apart.
Fertilise in spring with general fertiliser. Remove dead foliage as it appears both in late summer and the end of winter. Once established divide as soon as growth begins in spring.
Cottage/Informal Garden, Flowers Borders and Beds, Garden Edging, Gravel Garden, Ground Cover or Under-planting roses and shrubs.
Looks good with Achillea and Verbascum.
Stachys byzantina is a species of Stachys, native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran.
It is cultivated over much of the temperate world as an ornamental plant, and is naturalised in some locations as an escape from gardens.
The genus name Stachys is from the Greek stachus for 'a spike,' in reference to the spike-like form of the flowers.
The species name byzantina refers to the origin of the plant. The Byzantine Empire was the predominantly Greek-speaking continuation of the eastern half of the Roman Empire during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Its capital city was Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul), originally known as Byzantium.
Stachys byzantina is occasionally called Stachys lanata and was formerly known as Stachys olympica.
The Greeks apparently named every snow-capped mountain they saw 'Olympus', which must have been very confusing when asking directions. There are a lot of plants that bear the specific epithet olympica whose Olympus is not the one in Greece. Stachys byzantina, used to be called Stachys olympica, but not the Olympus, another one, the Bithynian one. Bithynian is an ancient country in northwestern Asia Minor in what is now Turkey.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 100mg Average Seed Count 50 Seeds Family Lamiaceae Genus Stachys Species byzantina Synonym Stachys lanata or Stachys olympica Common Name Lambs' ears, Woolly Betony
Also known as Stachys lanata, or olympica
Hardiness Hardy Perennial Flowers Mauve / Purple in June to September Foliage Pale Grey/Silver. Height 45cm (18in) Spread 60cm (36in) Position Full sun Soil Well-drained/light, Dry, Sandy Time to Sow Late summer to late Autumn or in Late winter to late Spring