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Lambs Ear Plant Care

lady bird on stachys image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com

Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) is easily recognized by its large, touchable, silvery-gray leaves and spiky pink flowers that bloom in summer. A durable little plant, lamb's ear is drought resistant and perfect for ground covers and flower beds or along sidewalks, where the fuzzy leaves will soften the hard edges. Lamb's ear thrives in cool climates. In hot, humid climates, it will be lovely in spring but usually die by mid-summer.

Plant lamb's ear in morning sun and afternoon shade if you live in a hot, dry climate. Otherwise, plant lamb's ear in full sunlight.

Keep the soil slightly dry. During warm, dry weather allow a hose to run slowly at the base of the lamb's ear plant once a week for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the plant gets an inch of rainfall per week, no additional water is needed. Water lamb's ear in the morning so the leaves will dry. Don't splash water on the leaves.

Prune lamb's ear plant to the ground every spring. It will grow back with a neater appearance and be less prone to disease and mildew.

Remove spent blooms from the lamb's ear plant as soon as the blooms fade. Remove any dead and yellowing leaves to keep the plant neat and healthy, improve air circulation and reduce build-up of moisture in the center of the plant.

Divide lamb's ear every three or three years or whenever the center of the plant begins to die. Dig up the entire plant along with the root ball. Divide the plant into smaller sections. Discard the nonproductive center of the plant and replant the new divisions.

Feed lamb's ear a timed-release liquid fertilizer once a year in spring. Apply the fertilizer according to manufacturer's instructions.

Lamb's Ear Plant Care

It’s impossible to encounter lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina) growing in a garden bed without stooping to feel the plant’s soft, velvety leaves. In rich soils, lamb’s ear can spread a little too aggressively, and in moist conditions, it can suffer from leaf diseases. On the other hand, the plant tolerates drought and poor soil. A 1/2-inch layer of compost around the base of the plant every spring may be all it needs to remain healthy. Apply the same amount of fertilizer after six weeks and the same amount again six weeks later. If the fertilizer applications don’t improve the plant’s growth, another problem may be responsible for its poor performance. Overwatering lamb’s ear can cause problems, so exercise restraint when wielding your watering can or hose. Lamb’s ear requires water only when the soil around its roots dries out. In the spring, spread a 2-inch layer of organic mulch over the bare soil in the garden bed where your lamb’s ear is growing. Mulches suppress weeds and conserve soil moisture.

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