The genus Stachys (Stachys), also called Bear's ear, includes 300 species of herbaceous annual and perennial plants and semi-shrubs. Leaves are whole opposite; flowers are collected in dense whorls forming spike-shaped inflorescences.
Stachys bright red (Stachys coccinea) is a heat-loving plant 25-50 cm tall, with ovate-lanceolate apical leaves tapering downwards. The flowers are crimson.
Stachys woolly, or Byzantine Stachys (S. lanata, S. byzantina), is the most common species in the southern regions, with a height of 30-40 cm. The leaves are oblong-elliptical, densely pubescent with silvery hairs. Pink or mauve flowers with a large helmet-shaped upper lip and a three-lobed lower one are used more often in borders. In the Primrose Heron variety, the newly opened leaves have a golden hue; the flowers are pink. The dwarf variety 'Silver Carpet' forms a fluffy mat of gray leaves without flowers.
Large-flowered Stachys (S. macrantha) is a hardy species, 40-60 cm high, with oval, serrated leaves pubescent along the edge and large purplish - purple flowers that bloom from spring to mid-summer. In the variety 'Magnificent', the flowers are more intensely colored compared to the botanical species.
Stachys officinalis (S. officinalis) - the most famous species, characterized by unpretentiousness. The stem is 15-30 cm high, slightly pubescent, slightly branched. The leaves are ovate-oblong, bordered by a city, the flowers are pinkish-purple, blooming in summer. The most common variety is 'Large-flowered' with larger flowers.
Types and varieties of Stachys are grown in the open ground in flower beds, border plantings, low-growing species as ground cover. It is desirable that the soil is fertile, fertilized with well-rotted manure or compost at the rate of 50 kg /m2, although plants grow well even on poor soils. Seedlings are planted at a distance of 20-40 cm from each other. In spring and summer, once every 15-20 days, a liquid complex fertilizer is added to the water for irrigation in the amount of 15 g per bucket. In autumn, the stems are cut to the root.
It is preferable to choose a semi-shady place for planting, but Stachys grow well even in the open sun.
These species, with the exception of Stachys lanata, have good winter hardiness and can be grown in a moderately cold climate, but in a place protected from the wind.
Stachys need abundant watering, only woolly Stachys grows better in non-waterlogged soil.
When caring for plants, remove faded inflorescences, as well as yellowed and damaged leaves.
Seeds are sown in spring, in a special groundcover. As soon as the seedlings grow up, they are transplanted into containers filled with a mixture of peat and sand in equal quantities, and the next year in the spring they are planted in a permanent place in the flower garden. In autumn or early spring, the bush is divided, and the resulting parts of the plant are immediately planted in the selected place.
Diseases and pests
Under conditions of constant waterlogging, gray rot often develops, caused by fungi of the genus Botrytis. In this case, treat the flower garden with fungicides. If you find insect larvae eating leaves, treat them with insecticides.
Stachys seedlings are easily purchased in flower nurseries and horticultural centers.