Common Name: lamb's ear
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers
Bloom Description: Purple (rarely flowers)
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut, Air Pollution
Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun. Appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot climates. Too much shade, however, may impede leaf drying and promote the onset of disease (see Problems section below). Avoid overhead watering. If mid-summer foliage decline occurs, pick off damaged leaves as needed. Drought tolerant. Spreads by creeping stems that root as they go along the ground and can be mildly aggressive in rich soils. Plant 12-18" apart for use as ground cover. Divide when necessary or to fill in bare patches.
'Big Ears' is noted for its silver-green foliage which forms an attractive ground cover. Dense rosettes of thick, soft, velvety, silver-green leaves (to 8" long) form a mat approximately 8" off the ground. Flowering stems are rare. Leaf shape and texture resemble a lamb's ear, hence the common name. Leaves are evergreen in warm climates, but will depreciate considerably in harsh winters. This cultivar is synonymous with 'Helene von Stein'.
Tends to rot and develop leaf diseases in humid summer climates. Well-drained soils are essential in order to combat potential rot problems. Even with well-drained soils, some summer die-out may occur where high humidity and/or moisture on foliage are/is present. 'Big Ears' has better resistance to these problems than the species and many other cultivars thereunder, and is a good selection for the St. Louis area.
Foliage provides interesting texture and color to the border or rock garden. Effective edger or small area ground cover.