Rabbit Ears (Ruttya fruticosa)

Posted by krobra (Woodbridge , Va – Zone 7a) on May 9, 2016 2:09 PM

Just a few thoughts and observations of my year of owning ruttya fruticosas.
When I got my plants, they were in small pots. I repotted them and they spent all summer growing. They did bloom after it was time to bring them in, which was when temps started to get to a chilly 39-40F at night for me. I noticed it damaged one of the larger buds, although I think the leaves and roots can take a little bit colder temps.
If you want to repot them, I recommend waiting until after they bloom. They tend to go through a cycle: grow, then leaves and stems mature/harden, bud, then bloom, maybe grow a seed pod or two and start growing again. A few leaves yellow during the maturing. I usually pinch them off. I also hand pollinated most of my blooms with fallen blooms. Not sure if they will seed on their own or not. The small green bean-like seed pods do explode, ejecting the seed soon after turning from green to brown. After the first one exploded, I picked the rest of mine when they started turning brown and let them finish maturing in a sealed tupperware container.
If you want to take cuttings to overwinter or just keep it at a small manageable size, all of mine came from new growth and most were grown in an aquarium with grow light, but I believe they are quite easy to root in moist soil and good lighting, whether it is a sunny room or fluorescent lighting.
They do tend to drip small drops of nectar. I had mine overwintering on plastic in the basement. I definitely recommend a smooth or cleanable surface underneath any pot inside or pinching back any stems overhanging the rim of the pot.

Lamb’s Ear Planting – How To Grow And Care For Lamb’s Ear Plant

A favorite for growing with kids, the lamb’s ear plant (Stachys byzantina) is sure to please in nearly any garden setting. This easy-care perennial has velvety soft, wooly evergreen leaves that are silver to gray-green in color. The foliage is also similar in shape to that of a real lamb’s ears, hence its name. If left to bloom in summer, lamb’s ear will produce spikes of pink to purple colored flowers too.

In addition to enjoying its attractive, fuzzy foliage, the leaves can be used as a “band-aid” of sorts for healing wounds and in helping painful bee stings.

Growing Lamb’s Ear

As long as you provide suitable conditions, growing lamb’s ear in the garden is simple. It’s hardy in USDA plant hardiness zones 4-8, and the plant’s Middle East origins make it superb for growing in drought-like conditions. In fact, lamb’s ear plants are tolerant enough to grow almost anywhere.

The plant should be grown in full sun or partial shade. Although lamb’s ear can tolerate the poorest of soils, it should always be well-draining as the plant dislikes overly moist soil. This is especially true of shady areas.

Lamb’s ear has many uses in the garden, though it is grown primarily for its foliage. The plant’s low-growing, mat-forming foliage makes it ideal for use as a ground cover. Plant them in open borders alongside other perennial plants or grow them in containers.

How to Plant Lamb’s Ears

Lamb’s ear planting is easy and most often takes place in spring. The planting holes should not be any deeper than the pots they were originally growing in. To prevent overcrowding, space the plants at least a foot or so apart.

Although lamb’s ear doesn’t require much in the way of fertilizer, you can add a bit of compost to the holes prior to planting if desired. Water new plants thoroughly but do not waterlog.

Care of Lamb’s Ear

Once established, lamb’s ear requires little maintenance; therefore, the care of lamb’s ear is also easy. Water only when the soil is significantly dry. Watch the foliage carefully in wet sites (from high rainfall) or regions prone to humid conditions, as this can lead to rotting. Spreading mulch under the leaves will help prevent this.

Trim the plant back in the spring and prune out brown leaves as needed. To keep the plant from spreading, deadheading spent blooms is often a good idea.

In addition to self-seeding, the plant can be propagated through division in spring or fall.

Hummingbird Plant, Rabbit Ears ‘Orange’


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade





Foliage Color:

Unknown – Tell us


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown – Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Placentia, California

Archer, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Lake City, Florida

Miami, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Valparaiso, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Barbourville, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Big Rapids, Michigan

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Cedar Park, Texas

Copperas Cove, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas(2 reports)

Hemphill, Texas

Highlands, Texas

Houston, Texas

Santa Fe, Texas

Victoria, Texas

Zapata, Texas

Woodbridge, Virginia

show all

Lamb’s-Ears, Lamb’s-Tongue

Lamb’s-ear, or lamb’s-tongue, is one of those plants that begs to have a finger run along its surface. The common name is precisely on the mark, since the gray-white, woolly leaves feel exactly like a lamb’s skin. The genus name is Greek for “a spike of grain.”

Perennials Image Gallery


Description of lamb’s-ears, lamb’s-tongue: The 4-inch-long leaves and sturdy stems of this plant are covered with dense, white wool. Plants grow to about 6 inches tall. Flower spikes up to 2 feet tall bear small, pink to purple flowers hidden by silvery bracts. Ease of care: Easy.

Growing lamb’s-ears, lamb’s-tongue: Lamb’s-ears require full sun and a good, well-drained soil. They are drought-resistant.

Propagating lamb’s-ears, lamb’s-tongue: By division in spring or by seed.

Uses for lamb’s-ears, lamb’s-tongue: Try this plant along the edge of a sunny border, in the rock garden, or as an effective ground cover. Even though the flowers are insignificant, the dried spikes are very effective in dried arrangements. It also does well in pots for terrace decoration.

Lamb’s-ears, lamb’s-tongue related variety: Silver Carpet is a non-flowering form of the same plant.

Scientific name for lamb’s-ears, lamb’s-tongue: Stachys byzantina

Lambs Ear

Lambs ear (Stachys byzantine) is native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. It was used in the civil war days as bandages. It’s extremely soft outer coating and astringent properties make it the perfect bandage that helps slow bleeding. It was also found to be used in the medieval times for the same usage.

These plants bloom green with silver-gray-green fuzzy leaves with a pinkish purple or white spikey flower. The flower blooms in the late spring to early summer. However, a lot of gardeners remove the flower stalks before the flower will even bloom. Lamb’s ear can grow anywhere from six to eight inches in height and twelve inches in width; they do not get very big. They are a low growing plant that does best in zones 4 to 8.

They, not surprisingly, got their name because they look and feel like lambs ears. They like full sun and don’t need a lot of watering (only a medium amount). They are drought tolerant and also tolerant to many animals such as rabbits. One problem this plant has is that it tends to rot and develop diseases in humid summer climates. Well drained soils are a necessity for this plant. Another thing about this plant is that it can become invasive in warmer climates and hard to eliminate.

This plant is not one that instantly strikes out to many, it is very plain and usually doesn’t have any flowers. It is not the best specimen plant. However, they look great as fillers. They look best rambling as ground cover or soft edging. All in all, it needs to be placed in a landscape carefully. Besides spreading roots, the seeds from lamb’s ear spread like no other. Nonetheless, this can be prevented with deadheading.

Lamb’s ear is found in many places throughout Reiman Gardens as it makes a good ground cover. Some can be found near the dining tables located outside the Mahlstede Building. Others can be found near the pathway by the old entrance before the antique roses, among other places.

Lamb’s Ear

Lamb’s ears are a bit more on the vegetarian side.

  • Lamb’s ears are primarily perennial evergreen plants native to Turkey, Iran and Armenia in Europe.
  • The scientific name of a lamb’s ear plant is Stachys byzantina, from the family Lamiaceae, the family of mint, and the plant is also known as ‘lamb’s tongue’ and ‘woolly woundwort’.
  • The leaves of lamb’s ears have a soft velvety texture and are shaped like the ear of a lamb, hence the common name, and they are a silver grey-green colour, and when the leaves are young, they tend to be more green in colour.
  • Flowers of lamb’s ears bloom during spring and summer on long stems that sit above the plant, and the small flowers range from a pink to purple colour.
  • Lamb’s ears typically grow to be 30 to 45 centimetres (12 to 18 inches) tall, and the flower spikes add another 10 to 22 centimetres (4 to 8.7 inches) to the height of the plant.

  • Lamb’s ears are often used to decorate gardens and recreational areas, and they commonly attract children due to their soft furry texture.
  • The most successful conditions for growing lamb’s ears involve full sun and locations that do not pool water, although they do endure other situations relatively well.
  • Lamb’s ear plants benefit from being divided and it is a good way to obtain more plants, and they can also be grown from seed.
  • Excessive quantities of water and high humidity levels can cause lamb’s ears to become diseased or rot, and they do have the habit of spreading, especially in ideal growing conditions.
  • Lamb’s ear plants have been used as an alternative to toilet paper and medicinally to treat wounds and the like, due to their antiseptic and other medicinal properties, and the leaves are also edible and can be made into a tea.
Lamb’s Ears, 2014, Plant Care Guides, http://www.garden.org/plantguide/?q=show&id=3370
Stachys Byzantina, 2015, Perennials.com, http://www.perennials.com/plants/stachys-byzantina.html
Stachys Byzantina, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys_byzantina


Stachys byzantina

  • Attributes: Genus: Stachys Species: byzantina Family: Lamiaceae Life Cycle: Perennial Recommended Propagation Strategy: Division Seed Country Or Region Of Origin: Krym, Northern Turkey to Northern Iran Wildlife Value: Attracts butterflies Play Value: Attracts Pollinators Fragrance Textural Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems): deer and drought resistant Dimensions: Height: 1 ft. 0 in. – 1 ft. 6 in. Width: 1 ft. 0 in. – 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Ground Cover Herb Perennial Leaf Characteristics: Broadleaf Evergreen Deciduous Habit/Form: Horizontal Spreading Growth Rate: Medium Maintenance: Low Texture: Fine
  • Fruit: Fruit Color: Brown/Copper Display/Harvest Time: Fall Fruit Type: Nut
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Pink Purple/Lavender Flower Inflorescence: Spike Flower Value To Gardener: Fragrant Flower Bloom Time: Summer Flower Shape: Lipped Flower Petals: 2-3 rays/petals Bracts Flower Size: < 1 inch Flower Description: Blooms May to July. Inflorescence is terminal dense spikeform arrangement of verticillasters. Flowers sessile, subtended by reduced leaves(foliaceous bracts). Corolla purple with some mottling internally, bilabiate. Corolla tube is less than a .5 inch long, pubescent externally. Upper lip single, shallowly 3-lobed to entire at apex, .2 inches long, less than half an inch broad. Lower lip 3-lobed. Two lateral lobes shallow, much smaller than central lobe.
  • Leaves: Leaf Characteristics: Broadleaf Evergreen Deciduous Leaf Color: Gray/Silver Green Leaf Feel: Soft Velvety Leaf Value To Gardener: Fragrant Showy Leaf Type: Simple Leaf Arrangement: Opposite Rosulate Leaf Shape: Elliptical Lanceolate Oblong Leaf Margin: Crenate Sinuate Hairs Present: Yes Leaf Length: 3-6 inches Leaf Width: 3-6 inches Leaf Description: Dense and wooly 4-6 inch long and 2-2.5 inches wide lance-shaped leaves. Leaves are opposite, decussate, with to 3.5 inches long stems on lower leaves and nearly stemless above. Leaves acute, tapering to base, crenate margins slightly sinuous.
  • Stem: Stem Color: Gray/Silver Stem Is Aromatic: No Stem Cross Section: Angular Stem Form: Zig Zags Stem Surface: Hairy (pubescent) Stem Description: To 20 inches tall, multiple from base, erect to ascending, herbaceous, branching, 4-angled. Entire plant covered with very dense grey lanate pubescence.
  • Landscape: Landscape Location: Naturalized Area Recreational Play Area Landscape Theme: Butterfly Garden Children’s Garden Rock Garden Design Feature: Border Mass Planting Attracts: Butterflies Resistance To Challenges: Black Walnut Deer Drought Dry Soil Pollution Poor Soil Rabbits Problems: Weedy

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