BETTONY LAMB’S EARS
Stachys officinalis is a much loved, and very useful, old favourite.
Even though it has recently been re-classified and re-named as Betonica officinalis – it is still the same old treasured plant.
Showy spikes of rich, deep mauve-pink
It has showy spikes of rich, deep mauve-pink trumpets, packed into dense heads.
So throughout the long blooming season, you really cannot miss it.
With the vivid blooms held jauntily above a tight knit clump of pretty, wrinkled, pleated foliage.
Useful groundcover & edge
Stachys officinalis (syn Betonica officinalis) is a thoroughly useful groundcover under roses.
With a traditional reputation as a companion plant for helping to repel harmful insects from roses, veggies and fruit.
Though wherever planted it makes a very pretty and hardy edging plant all year round.
With showy flowers, a mass of rich colour, zest for life, and tight rosettes of pleated foliage.
Spectacular mass of flower colour
A mass of flower spikes from mid-spring through summer make it spectacular for a long season.
Plus the dense, tight knit foliage clumps make pretty edging or groundcover for the rest of the year too.
Cut stems make a pretty posy for a small vase, and are long lasting as cut flowers.
Tough & easy grower
Plant Betony in either Sun or Partial Shade, and it will even grow in dense Shade if necessary.
Though flowering will be more prolific with more sun.
Water-wise, frost, heat & humidity resistant
Stachys officinalis / Betonica officinalis is a tough and easy grower that can cope with some periods of heat and dry, as well as some stints of humidity if necessary.
It is also vigorously frost hardy and resists temperatures down to at least -20C, depending on conditions.
Plus it is unfussy about soil type, from well-drained to damp.
Deer & rabbit resistant but bee friendly
Fortunately rabbits and deer find Stachys foliage unattractive to eat.
Whereas bees, native honey eating birds, and helpful pollinating insects find the mass of trumpet flowers just the “bees-knees” for nectar. And will buzz amongst them all day doing their job.
45cm. High with massed flower spikes x 30cm Wide tight knit low foliage clump.
SEED SOWING ADVICE: Stachys officinalis / Betonica officinalis
Seed can be simply scattered outdoors in winter / or for optimum germination sow indoors at any time.
INDOORS: First scatter the seed on the surface of good quality potting mix.
Then pat the seeds gently to the surface of the mix to ensure good contact.
These seeds need light for germination, so only very barely cover with sieved mix, or better still, cover with a bare sprinkling of vermiculite.
Then thoroughly moisten the mix by standing the punnet in a shallow water bath.
And allow the moisture to percolate up to the surface from below.
Now cover the punnet with a clear plastic lid to help maintain moisture.
And place the covered punnet in a warm position (not in direct sunlight) for 2-4 weeks.
You can use a heat mat if you have one, and this helps maintain optimum temperatures.
Temperatures of 18-22°C are best for optimum germination.
And continue to keep moist by misting the surface from a spray water bottle.
Seeds will now germinate in approx. 28 days.
However you will get faster and optimum germination if you give them a period of chilling mid way.
You will get even better results if you give them a chill
After 2-3 weeks of moist warmth (as above), wrap the moist punnet in cling-wrap and place in the fridge (not freezer) for a further 2-3 weeks. So the seeds think they have had winter.
Then remove the punnet from the fridge, unwrap, and make sure it is moist.
And return the punnet to a warm, well-lit position for seed germination.
Seedlings begin to emerge in approx. 14 days, though some seeds may emerge later. This is a natural strategy for this plant to hedge bets for the seedlings. So do not discard the punnet.
Remove the clear cover as soon as germination begins and grow the seedings on ready to plant in the garden.
SEED COUNT: 100 seeds per pack approx.
(We always aim to exceed the stated seed count and give a generous serve).
SMALL PLANT WITH A BIG HISTORY: Stachys officinalis syn. Betonica officinalis
The word “officinalis” in a plant name immediately gives the game away. It says this plant has a long history of herbal and medicinal use.
Herbal & medicinal uses:
Betony was a favourite amongst monks and folk healers for many centuries.
And the list of claims for it’s curative qualities is little short of miraculous.
So Betony was said to help both strengthen and calm the nervous system.
And to ease the pains of everything from heartburn to cramps, hepatitis to gout, and flu to vertigo.
Or soothe the agonies of anxiety or snakebite, whilst also improving the memory.
It also came in handy for dyeing wool green.
Little wonder it was an essential in medieval monastery gardens.
While in ancient Rome the physicians of 2000 years ago listed forty seven diseases that should be treated with Betony.
In Wales it was worn in the bonnet as a potent remedy for warding off witches.
And in Italy it was sure to keep the devil at bay, and at the same time prevent a hangover after too much wine.
An equally long list of common names includes: lousewort, heal-all, self-heal, woundwort, bishop’s wort, bishop’s elder, St. Bride’s comb (used to treat head lice), lamb’s ears, wood betony (it does grow in woods), purple betony, spiked betony and hedge nettle (it does grow under shrubs and in hedges).
A miraculous plant !!
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