Stachys macrantha 'Superba'
Common Name: big betony
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Purple/violet
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates some part afternoon light shade in hot summer climates such as the St. Louis area.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Stachys macrantha, commonly called big betony, is native to the Caucusus. It is noted for its late spring floral display. Soft, wrinkled, scallop-edged, ovate, rough-hairy, dark green leaves (to 3.5” long) form a basal clump to 9-12” tall. Upright flowering stems rise to 8” above the foliage clump in late spring to early summer, each stem bearing 2-3 whorls of intense, pinkish-purple, two-lipped, tubular flowers. Clumps will spread over time to form a dense ground cover. Although some species of Stachys are grown primarily for their gray woolly leaves (e.g., Stachys byzantina or lamb’s ears), this species is grown primarily for its vivid flowers which can provide a particularly spectacular display when massed. Moreover, when plants are in flower, they somewhat more closely resemble some of the salvias than the fuzzy-leaved lamb’s ears. Synonymous with Stachys grandiflora and Betonica grandiflora.

Genus name comes from the Greek stacys meaning ear of corn in probable reference to the inflorescence of a related plant.

Specific epithet means with large flowers.

'Superba' typically grows 12-18" tall with whorls of violet-purple, two-lipped, tubular flowers in upright spikes in late spring. Basal rosettes of wrinkled, heart-shaped, hairy, scallop-edged, medium green leaves (to 3.5" long) form an attractive mat of foliage. This stachys superficially more closely resembles some of the salvias (particularly when in flower) than the popular, fuzzy-leaved Stachys byzantina (lamb's ears) and cultivars thereunder.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Borders, cottage gardens, informal naturalized areas. Interesting edging plant.