A Different Lamb's Ears

By Charlie Nardozzi

When you say lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina), most flower gardeners think of the perennial with silvery white, wooly foliage and purple flower spikes. However, there is another version of lamb's ears that is more colorful, compact growing, and longer blooming.

The 'Hummelo' lamb's ears (Stachys officinalis 'Hummelo') is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8. It grows 1-1/2 to 2 feet tall and produces sturdy, rose-lavender flower spikes in midsummer. It has soft foliage, but the color is glossy green instead of silvery white. There's a pink-flowered version named 'Rosea' available as well. The flowers are loved by butterflies and hummingbirds, but not by deer.

The plant grows best in full sun in well-draining soil, and benefits from being divided every three to four years.

For more information on 'Hummelo' lamb's ears, go to: Missouri Botanical Garden.

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