Pink Cotton is soothing in the garden Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Wednesday, October 26, 2022 03:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

Pink Cotton is soothing in the garden 

Imagine coming home to a soothing garden with soft colors, delicate blossoms with no immediate maintenance needs. Soft swaths of Pink Cotton lamb’s ear (Stachys lavandulifolia) provide that experience. Its unusual flowers look like pink cotton, as its name describes. Despite its frothy appearance, it’s tough, dependable and requires little fussing 

This plant is native to the Caucasus Mountains, from Turkey to Iraq, and rock gardeners have used Pink Cotton for years. In full to part sun, Pink Cotton is perfect to grow where rock berms interface with the flat ground, but can be the plant that transitions from turf, or a garden bed, to sidewalks or gravel pathways. Its appearance is calming, suggesting gentle motion in contrast to static rocks or concrete. Pink Cotton happily greets garden guests as it gently reaches into pathways or melds multiple gardens. 

A close look at flower panicles reveals long hairs that cover the individual flower parts. Yet speckled throughout the flower panicle are the larger violet flower petals. Pink Cotton blooms from May to late June and offers an abundance of nectar for bees to frenzy over. Blooms eventually fade to light brown when summer heat kicks in and become brittle. They break easily for deadheading or will blow away by winter if no deadheading is done. It's best to lightly rake them out to view the pleasant, light army green foliage beneath, for the rest of summer. The leaves are not what most people think of as “lamb’s ear”; they are not overly fuzzy and white, but two-inch-long, narrow, oblanceolate leaves. They grow opposite along the stems, which protrude from the center of the plant in a pleasant manner. The slightly mounded growing habit makes Pink Cotton a dependably beautiful plant for every kind of transitional zone in the yard. 

In height, it’s not tall enough to block pop-up irrigation heads from occasionally watering the garden. Pink Cotton only needs to be watered once per week for 12 weeks in late spring through the summer. Water use can be reduced to about 2 gallons per square foot per year using this beautiful perennial and other Plant Select plants in mass. Plant Select gardens contain flowers in various shapes—spikes, balls, discs and trumpets—and now fuzz.  

Welcome to the soft, soothing world of Pink Cotton.  Read the full article in the Sept/Oct issue of Colorado Green. Contributed by Ross Shrigley & Bev Shaw for Plant Select®. 

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