Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stachys - Lamb's Ears

A love/hate thing to be sure with Lamb's Ears. I love the look, I love how kids in the garden like to 'pet' them. Even the flowers are nice, BUT, the species can be just plain rampant. I wish it would stay in a nice neat clump, but it doesn't. I rip it out and cut it back when it covers the path and I often consider just doing away with it, but I still like the way it looks in the garden, so we try and coexist.
This next one is the variegated form which we got from the nice folks at Baker's Acres up near Columbus. We keep it alive with some difficulty. As with a number of variegated plants, it seems to like more sun than the species, though thinking about it, the species will take full sun also.

This last is called 'Primrose Heron' and we picked it up from Glasshouse Works in Stewart Ohio. The color varies between yellow and chartreuse and instead of rambling all over the place, this one seems to be content to form a nice, furry clump. Right now it is about a foot tall and 18 inches wide. I think this would be my favorite - pretty and well behaved.
Like I said, most of these will enjoy full sun and also do well in at least partial shade. They are at least a bit drought tolerant, being able to go for quite awhile in a dry spell without looking thirsty. The flowers on the species appear on a bloom scape which is about 18 inches tall, though most seem to ramble on the ground a bit and only really go up about 10 inches. The scape reminds me of mullein in that it is somewhat reminiscent of a large asparagus except that it is fuzzy and silver with lots of tiny purple flowers.


Karen said...

I have the same ambivalence with this plant - it's so cute and fun to pet, but it does go nuts in some gardens. I have one at the moment that seems content to mostly stay put, and it's easy-enough to pull out the stray seedlings if it tries to get moving. I've never seen a variegated one before, interesting!

Hoot Owl Hollow Nursery said...

I think the variegated one was originated at Baker's Acres. It is high maintenance in the way of many variegated plants in that you have to remove non-variegated eyes to keep the variegation going and not have unvariegated eyes take over.