Stachys

Stachys flowers

Popular groundcover perennial grown for its attractive leaves. Species S. byzantina has distinctive silvery downy stems and leaves, whilst S. macrantha bears attractive flowers.

Family: Lamiaceae
Botanical Name: Stachys
Common Names: Lamb's ear, lamb's tongue, Big Betony

Foliage: Evergreen or deciduous. Green or silvery-grey hairy leaves, usually with a soft, velvety texture.

Flowers: Erect spikes or racemes of violet or magenta, whorled, two-lipped flowers.

Flowering Period: Summer.

Soil: Well-drained, moderately fertile soil (chalk, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Best planted in a south facing aspect.

Habit: Spreading, mat forming.

Type: Herbaceous perennial.

Origin: Caucasus to Iran.

Hardiness: Hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Stachys

Easy to grow. Plant out from October to April. Thrives in any moderately fertile, well-drained soil, in full sun.

Ideal front of the border perennial.

Taking Care of Stachys

Divide every few years to reinvigorate the plants.

Pruning Stachys

Cut back dead flower-stems.

Pests and Diseases

Susceptible to attack by slugs and caterpillars. Can be affected by powdery mildew.

Propagating Stachys

Propagate by seed sown in containers in a cold frame, in autumn or spring. Alternatively, divide established clumps in autumn or spring.

Popular Varieties of Stachys

Stachys byzantina (lamb's ears) a mat forming perennial with grey-green thick, soft, oblong-elliptic leaves and stems, covered in white hairs. Spikes of purplish or pink flowers arranged in whorls appear in July. Height and spread 12-18in (30-45cm). Varieties include:


  • 'Big Ears' large grey-green leaves and purple flowers. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Cotton Ball' silvery-grey leaves and short spikes of white bobble-like flowers.
  • 'Silver Carpet' a good spreading variety with attractive silvery foliage. For sale at Crocus.

Stachys citrina produces green-grey, scented foliage and short spikes of pale yellow flowers.

Stachys macrantha (Big Betony) a low-growing spreading perennial with deciduous green, ovate leaves. Spikes of violet or magenta flowers in mid-summer. Height 18-24in (45-60cm), spread 12-18in (30-45cm. Cultivar 'Rosea' has attractive pink blooms.