UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Stachys byzantina 'Countess Helen von Stein'

STAKA-is bye-zan-TEEN-ah
Common Name
Lamb's Ears
Plant Type
Mature Size
3 ft. wide and 6 in. to 12 in. tall
Water Requirements
Low: water every three weeks until the root ball is wet
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
  • Bees
Flower Color
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

Not every plant in the garden has that "wow factor" going for it, and that's a good thing. Sometimes plants are needed to fill in bare spots and give the eye a rest. Lamb's ears are a classic filler plant for a water-wise garden.

"Helen von Stein' is a wonderful cultivar because it has extra-large leaves and doesn't bloom a lot. With its large leaves, it provides contrast to smaller leaved plants in the garden. 

After a couple years, these plants tend to spread and die out in the middle. Use a sharp shovel and divide the clumps in fall or early winter. Lamb's ears may also have some die back over the winter; we recommend leaving the dead leaves in place until all danger of frost has passed.  

PADG Notes: We have used Stachys and other silver-leaved plants to visually tie together the edges of our beds. Some gardeners love the dramatic flower spikes on lamb's ears, but we have mixed feelings. Sometimes we cut them off and sometimes we leave them in place.


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