Stachys spathulata
Common Name: betony
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: South Africa
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Pink to purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade. Best flowering in full sun. Too much shade may impede leaf drying and promote the onset of disease. Avoid overhead watering. If mid-summer foliage decline occurs, pick off damaged leaves as needed. Plants have some drought tolerance. May spread in the garden by rhizomes or self-seeding. Set new plants 12-18” apart for use as a ground cover. Deadhead spent flower spikes to improve plant appearance, to maintain plant vitality, and, if desired, to prevent reseeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Stachys spathulata, synonymous with and formerly known as Stachys minima, is a dwarf, rhizomatous, green-leaved perennial that typically grows to only 4-8" tall. Common name is dwarf betony. It is native to southern Africa. Showy, tubular, two-lipped, rose-purple flowers bloom in verticillasters (false whorls) in summer (June- July) on crowded 4-6" tall spikes rising above a dense ground-hugging rosette of spatula-shaped glossy dark green leaves spreading to 8-12" wide. Flowers are attractive to butterflies.

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

Specific epithet means shaped like a spatula in reference to leaf shape.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Plants in this species tend to develop leaf spots, powdery mildew, and rots in hot and humid summer conditions, but less so than typically occurs with the woolly-leaved lamb's ear types (e.g., Stachys byzantina). Watch for slugs and snails.

Garden Uses

Foliage provides interesting texture and shape, but the flowers are a show-stopper. Border fronts or rock gardens. Effective edger or small area ground cover. Containers.