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Past Articles Library | Grow Something Fuzzy-Lamb's Ear

Do you have a hot, dry spot in your garden where you have a hard time getting anything to grow?  If that is the case, then I have the plant for you and that is Lamb’s ear (Stachys bzantina).

Lamb’s ear has gray colored leaves that quickly cover the ground in a dense mass.  It produces a flower stalk that can be covered in white, pink, red, purple, and violet colors that appear in mid-spring to early fall, depending on the variety.  This plant is self-sowing to the point that it can become a problem in other parts of your garden where you do not want the plant.

It likes to be in full sun to partial shade and does well as a border or ground cover.  Also, it can be planted in container gardens but if you use this approach, keep in mind that it may freeze out in the winter if it is not transplanted into the ground.

You can start lamb’s ear by seed.   To do this, count back six weeks from your local frost free date.  Once you have that date, you can plan your planting.   To begin this process, fill a container or flat with soil and moisten.  Mark your plant labels with plant name and date.  Sprinkle seeds on the soil surface and cover with ¼ inch of soil.  Place label in flat and cover with a pane of glass or plastic.  Then, place in a location that receives indirect light.

Monitor the flat and as soon as you see growth remove the cover.  After the seedlings have their second set of true leaves, transplant into individual containers.  Before moving outdoors, harden the plants off by gradually exposing them to the outdoors a little at a time.  This should be done two weeks prior to your planting date.

Once the chance of frost has passed, prepare the garden soil by mixing in a good amount of compost into the area prior to planting.  After that is done and the plants have been hardened off, place them in the ground and water in.

Another way that lamb’s ear can be propagated is through division.  To divide a clump of lamb’s ear requires one to do a little homework.  First, prepare the area where you plan to transplant your lamb’s ear to.  Once that is done, water down the clump of lamb’s ear a few days before you plan to dig it up.  This will aid in the digging process. 

Once that digging day arrives, dig around the clump.  Lift up as you go around the clump.  After you have dug all the way around, lift the clump out of the ground.  Gently loosen up soil around the root system.  Now you can see what you have.  You will need to begin to separate crowns.  Each crown needs to have its own roots and leaves so keep this in mind.  After studying the clump, begin to pull apart with your fingers or cut with a knife.  Once the clump has been divided, replant as described above.

To enhance the look of lamb’s ear, consider planting it with Black-eyed Susan and Daylilies.  If you have a deer problem do not fret with this plant.  It is very deer resistant.


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Keep Seedlings Moist

When you have just planted seeds, keep the soil moist until germination.

If the soil dries out, the seeds will die.

After germination, allow the soil to dry out a bit between waterings, but keep a close eye on the seedlings until they are well established.

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