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Hello, and welcome to Thursday’s Feature, in which I profile a different plant from my garden each week.  A few other bloggers join in from time to time as well; you should find links to their sites in the comments.

This week I bring you Stachys officinalis ‘Pink Cotton Candy’:DSC_5411

This plant is a cousin of Lamb’s Ear, but I think it is much prettier, and easier to keep under control!  Its scallop-leafed foliage is a medium shade of green and smooth rather than fuzzy!  In its third summer here, it has formed a mound of foliage twenty inches wide and ten inches high.  Its flower stalks range from twenty-two to thirty inches in height, and feature columns of densely packed pink flowers for a few weeks beginning in late June.  As the flowers age, the color fades to pale pink.  I will clip off the spent flower stalks, and it will have a sparser bloom cycle in August.

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‘Pink Cotton Candy’ is hardy from USDA Zones 4-8.  It tolerates dry soil well and prefers full sun.  It spreads very slowly by creeping stems.  It has not tempted deer, woodchucks, or rabbits.

Here you can see its cousin, Stachys byzantina (Lamb’s Ear) in back of ‘Pink Cotton Candy’:DSC_5402

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden website, Stachys officinalis is also known as Stachys betonica, and its common name is Betony.  It has a history of medicinal uses, from treatment of migraines to relief from insect bites.  You can read more about that here.

If you have a plant you’d like to highlight this week, please feel free to join in.  Just leave a link to your post in the comments here, and include a link to my site within your own post.  It’s a great way to learn more about specific plants that may or may not be familiar to you.  Perhaps you’ll even find one you just HAVE to have in your own garden!

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