Two quite different garden plants bear the name Stachys. The more popular one is a grey-leaved ground cover or edging plant known as Lamb’s Ears or Lamb’s Tongue. Flowers are borne in whorls on upright spikes but these blooms are insignificant – this perennial is grown for its attractive evergreen silvery foliage. The second Stachys is much less commonly seen – Big Betony is grown for the spikes of showy pink or purpleit bears in summer rather than for its plain green . All varieties of Stachys hate heavy soils and the flowering spikes should be cut down once the blooms have faded.
VARIETIES: Lamb’s Ears is the common nameforS.lanata(S.olympica) – height 1.5 ft. Spacing 1 ft.
Flowering period: July-August. Theare covered in woolly hairs and the pale purple are small. The non-flowering ‘Silver Carpet’ (4 in.) is grown as a carpeting plant. Big Betony is called S. macrantha (Betonica macrantha) in the catalogues – height 2 ft. Spacing 1.5 ft.
Flowering period: May-July. Theflowers are large and tubular – the variety ‘Rosea’ produces pink blooms.
SITE AND SOIL: Any well-drained garden soil will do – thrives in sun or partial shade.
PROPAGATION: Divide clumps in autumn or spring.