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Lamb's ears

Lamb's ears has densely hairy leaves.

Lamb's ears is well loved for its densely hairy leaves.  Keeping those fuzzy leaves dry is important for the health and beauty of this plant.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Stachys byzantina

All common names:

Lamb's ears, woolly betony, woolly woundwort

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Ground cover,
  • Perennial

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Massing,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Medium plant (12-24 inches)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional drought

Seasons of Interest:

  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall,
  • mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Pink

Shape or Form:

  • Creeping,
  • Mounded,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate,
  • Fast

More Information:

Size and Method of spreading

Lamb's ears is a low-growing to mounded ground cover, gorwing 12 to 15 inches high.  It takes on a more upright appearance as the flower stalks develop.  It is a colonizing ground cover.  Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots.  These plants are strong growers and may have the potential to grow aggressively.

Plant Care

It is important for this plant to have well drained soil.  Overhead watering can be a problem as well, since the hairy leaves can trap water and this leads to rot.

Disease, pests, and problems

Rot and leaf diseases can be a problem when conditions are too wet.
Slugs can also be a problem.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Resistant to deer and tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Turkey and Iran.

Leaf description

Leaves are mostly growing from the base of the plant and are oblong to elliptic.  They are densely hairy, giving the plant a gray-green to whitish appearance and a soft, felt-like feel.

Flower description

Small, purple-pink flowers are borne on upright stalks up to 6 inches tall.  Flowering time is from summer into frost, but the flowers are not very showy.

Fruit description

Fruit are small nutlets; not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences

Big Ears lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina 'Big Ears'):  Large, silvery-green leaves in dense rosettes.  Few to no flowers produced.  Also sold under the name 'Helene von Stein'.

Fuzzy Wuzzy lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina 'Fuzzy Wuzzy'):  Silvery-white leaves produced in dense clusters, making for a full ground cover.

Silky Fleece lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina 'Silky Fleece'):  A dwarf variety with smaller leaves.  Grows to 3 to 4 inches high in leaf; up to ten inches when in flower.

Silver Carpet lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina 'Silver Carpet'):   Seldom produces flowers.

Location of Stachys byzantina (Lamb's ears) at the Arboretum