Companion for lambs ears

Laurie KY/6August 14, 2001

Someone gave me a little crop of Stachys bizantina. I'm not a big fan of the stuff, but it is doing well, and I don't like to remove healthy plants for no good reason. What companion plants would complement it nicely?

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I cut the blooms off mine-I don't care for the flowers, but the foliage is great. And, keeping the flowers off will keep it from seeding everywhere. That said, it looks good with just about anything. I'm fond of anything with purple flowers near silver foliage. Just keep it where the soil is a bit on the dry side, and you can't go wrong with it!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2001 at 9:00AM
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quirkpod(7 Lewisville NC)

Roses are a well-known standard companion with Lambs Ear. I am surprised there are no other posts on this subject! However, I use Lambs Ear in my "moon garden" along with night-blooming flowers such as Nicotiana Sylvestris, N. Alata, 4 Oclocks, Datura. Also in the moon garden is another gray-leaved plant, Rose Campion. I also have white Allysum, and Verbena Bonariensis. The whole bed is such a welcome site after an evening out. It just dazzles in the moonlight!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2001 at 11:49AM
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Plants with variegated white foliage echo and play off the white leaves of the lambs ears. I have artemisia in the bed with them--a different texture, but the same color to create repetition and rythem. I too like pink and purple flowers with the lambs ears.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2001 at 3:36PM
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sprout_wi(z4 WI)

I have Pulmonaria "Mrs. Moon". The dark green leaves are spotted silver and the flowers start our pink then turn lavender and then blue as the season wears on. Leaf shape and flower color are similar to lambs ear. I leave my flower stalks uncut, as long as they remain neat. I also have an unknown little geranium that has twined its way into the lambs ears and is the same purplish color as the lambs ear flower - looks very nice.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2001 at 3:04PM
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How about lambs ears with coralbells growing through them? It is really eye-catching.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2001 at 9:41PM
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LeeAnna(z8 WA)

I love Lamb's Ears! It's one of my favorites - evergreen, but without being green. Here's a partial list of what I've paired it with:

dark purple Salvias (May Night, etc)
Verbena Bonariensis
California Poppies (sounds strange, looks great)
white Oriental Lilies
Tricolor Sedum (the kind that's a mix of green, white, silver and pink)

Lamb's ears are really good at hiding the scraggly bases of other plants (Monarda, Shasta Daisies, Roses, Lilies to name a few). That's one of my main uses for it.

~Lee Anna

    Bookmark   October 11, 2001 at 7:31PM
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I have to go with quirkpod. I have lambs ear planted in front of my roses (I keep the blooms cut off the lambs ear). Silvery pink and red rose blooms falling across large, fuzzy, silver ears are a very pretty combination in my garden. I also have lambs ear next to my small pond with their leaves falling over the rocks near the water. In close proximity to them are a miniature pinkish-red azalea, daylilies, iris, hostas, a pagoda and a Japanese Maple. How all these plants make it in the same bed is anybody's guess, but in Texas one can do anything.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2001 at 9:32PM
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The best combo i have ever seen (and i love lamb's ears so it's hard to pick :) was lambs ears next to purple sage. it was really nice!

    Bookmark   November 14, 2001 at 1:39PM
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does lambs ear do well planted in full sun? mine is looking rather limp, or perhaps i'm watering too much. it's planted in full sun.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2002 at 11:35PM
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hi - i live in south texas too, my lamb's ears need a lot of water on hot days. they like a daily misting and they love light rain. heavy rain pounds them into the ground. drought resistant, my butt! mulch helped a lot, to keep them from sticking to the ground.
i love lamb's ears.
kemma in katy

    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 4:54PM
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Lambs ears make a great 'shady ground cover' for plants that like their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade like clematis and trumpet vine and the silver foliage is nice next to the dark green of the climbers. By the way, for all you blossom choppers, there is a new, dwarf I think, variety out that does not bloom. A friend of mine has it but I don't know the anyone?

I also put mine in my vegetable garden in between the cucurbits and tomatos. Bees go absolutely WILD for lambs ears IF you leave it flower. OK I agree they're not all that pretty but in the veggie garden, who cares? And they do smell wonderful! It will atract hoards of these little insects who will fertilize your cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes, etc. and increase your harvest.

As far as watering, I never do and mine does well even self-seeding here and there in my drought ridden zone 5 garden.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 5:27PM
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I like mine with Campanula medium (both the medium blue and the dark blue), 'Nora Barlow Blue' columbines, when used as edging in the bed where there are white and purple coneflowers and a lilac colored Butterfly bush, with my 'Stardust' Sedum, and in close proximity to my 'Velvet and Lace' Dianthus.

1) Its good with the campanulas and columbines for foliage shape contrast and with the really pretty dark bloom contrast. 2) The edging area looks good because the silvery side of lamb's ear complements the white and purple blooms and blue green foliage of the Butterfly bush. 3) I really really like the Sedum one, but it sounds boring. If you saw it, the subtle nuances of the whites complementing each other while the fuzzy/succulent foliage contrasting is just phenomenal. 4) The 'Velvet and Lace' looks good because it shows off that deep purply burgundy color which is so hard to find in the garden.

So there you have it. Many different areas, many different reasons to love Lamb's ear. Oh, and don't forget to pet them, they're so soft.

I will note, Lamb's ear doesn't do well with wet foliage so water the roots only. Mine do equally well in my semi-moist soil & semi-shade area and my dry soil & full-sun area. So, they must be pretty versatile.

If I could just find a way to keep the foliage off the ground I would be happier; I think I am going to try small pebbles under its leaves, just to the drip line. And yes, bees really love the flowers.

Hope this adds to your thoughts.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2002 at 1:57PM
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ilovelilacs(z9 Northern CA)

I have the large 'Helen von Stein' variety. It has quite large lovely leaves, not as silvery as the common variety, and very large flower stalks which some people don't like. The plant overall is quite large compared to the usual variety. I find the flower stalks easier to pull than to cut. I have it throughout my landscape. It looks great next to my dwarf deep hot pink crape myrtle, 'Burnished Bronze' coral bells, dark-purple leafed flowering plum, and of course lavender, catmint, and other purple-flowering plants. I recently saw a new yellow-leafed variety which I'm not sure I liked because it looked like an overwatered plant (it wasn't).

    Bookmark   July 20, 2003 at 5:09AM
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sprout_wi(z4 WI)

On a recent garden magazine cover, I saw Lamb's Ears combined with a white Hydrangea and Purple Coneflower. I am not overly fond of any of these plants alone, but in combination they were gorgeous.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2003 at 10:16PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

Mine pop up around my Alberta spruces and also look nice next to my deep purple coralbells. I have raised them in sun and shade both in Oklahoma and Ohio.

On the flower issue: I let it flower for a while to give my big fat lazy bumbles a little taste, then I cut. Pulling works best for stragglers.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2003 at 2:29PM
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All the messages above sound lovely so I'll add another thought.

I love lambs ears too, but mine got big and dead looking in the centers. I read a suggestion and it seems to be working for me. I quit letting them flower, and I pull out the big ones and edges from time to time. It has kept them looking great this summer.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2003 at 11:42PM
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I have tried a few-

Lamium (dead nettles) especially with the white-blooming variety

petunias (the lamb's ear hides the leggyness of them)

Artemiesia and Rue (both of which look lovely, and smell somewhere between 'whew' and awful)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2003 at 1:05PM
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I have never had success with lambs ears. I tried it in Michigan (zone 5) in full sun in a rather moist rotted. I now have it in NC (zone 7-8) in a sorta sandy soil, receiving morning sun, and this year a ton of's been (almost) dormant all sunmmer, no more than 1/2 inch tall. I would like to see it take off, but I can't figure out what it needs? Any suggestions for my zone 7-8 location?

    Bookmark   October 21, 2003 at 10:44AM
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bigred(z8 Ark.)

I have a short birdbath I under planted w/ lamb's ear,"Elijah Blue" fescue,"Silver Brocade" artemesia but I made the mistake of planting ribbon grass too and it ate the flowerbed practically.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2003 at 11:05AM
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kates_spade(s. california)

I agree that Lamb's ear, at least in the dry hot climate of southern california, is not drought resitant. It absolutely wilts on hot days. My large but newly planted specimens required watering a couple of times a day during really hot spells last year. I'm hoping they've toughened up this year, now that their roots are established because they are planted with lavender and society garlic, neither one of which require much water.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2004 at 5:09AM
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MayBATL(Atlanta, GA)

Thanks for all the comments and recommendations on Lamb's Ears. Mine are all in one place now and a fairly dry one I hope. They just about desintegrated in the wet soil I had them first. The flowers are OK and I'll leave them alone for a while, eventhough one of them that had been just about water logged did not get it's head up but it was sprouting little leaves, so I cut off the stem. I think I'll get some dark purple salvias or the sedum as a companion.
May in Atlanta, Georgia - :-)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2004 at 10:30AM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

I think anything they're pretty fuzzy foliage is so nice with many things..... especially light pink flowered plants...... :) The russian sage was a good suggestion ....... :) ..... :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2004 at 10:39PM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

Blue fescue and creeping Jenny w/lamb's ear.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2004 at 11:01AM
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I've never posted over here before, but I'm so glad I checked this out. My lamb's ear was getting really messy and I was planning to move some of it (still am), but I spent this morning thinning it out. Then, I wondered if it would look better if I cut off the straggley blooms, which it did. From all your comments, I'm now inspired to give them some companions. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 9:55PM
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jennegardens(z5 NY)

Try Hosta, Dicksons Gold Campanula, Butterfly Blue Scabiosa, Dwarf Butterfly Blue Delphinium, Dianthus, Purple Palace, Hens & Chicks, Rosy Glow Sedum.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 2:25PM
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I have gotten a bit of the "weed" that looks very much like a verbena, only the flowers are purple. I love the look of it in my back yard, and am starting a bit of it with the Lambs Ear down 1 side of the dooryard/driveway. Down the other side of the drive I have Purple Jew.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 3:40PM
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gardengirl_17(z5 OH)

I grow the "Big Ears" (aka Helen Von Stein) variety and absolutely love it. I have it in full sun and it looks great through the growing season. I like it with Knautia, Poppy Mallow and variegated grasses like Gracimillus, Morning Light, etc. I use it a lot as an edger. It's hard to find something it doesn't look good with.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kim and Chris's Garden Page

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 9:44PM
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