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Rose Campion

Rose Campion vs. Lambs Ear: What’s the Difference & How to Care for Them

Rose campion and lambs ear are beautiful perennial plants that liven up indoor and outdoor spaces with stunning foliage and flowers. Both these plants offer brightly colored flowers and look similar at first glance. However, there are many differences between the two plants. Keep on reading to learn more about Rose campion vs. Lambs ear.

Rose Campion vs. Lambs Ear

Below is a quick overview of rose campion and lambs ear.

Rose campion vs. Lambs Ear

Rose CampionLambs Ear
Common nameCrown pink, Mullein pink, Rabbit’s ears, Dusty miller, crown of the field, garland flowerDonkey’s ears, Jesus flannel, lamb’s ears, wooly betony, woolly hedge-nettle
Botanical name Lychnis coronaria or Silene coronariaStachys byzantina
FamilyCaryophyllaceae (Pink family)Lamiaceae
Plant typeBiennial or perennialPerennial, herb, ground cover
PropagationDivision, seed, root cutting, stem cuttingDivision, seed
Native regionEurope, AsiaKrym, Northern Turkey to Northern Iran
Growth rateMedium
Growth habitErect with flowering stems that are 3 feet tallClumping, spreading or mat-forming
MaintenanceLowLow
Ornamental plant featuresProduces eye catching magenta pink flowersAttract pollinators, cut flowers, fragrant leaves
Foliage colorSemi-evergreen, Blue/green, gray/silver
Bloom timeEarly to mid-summerSpring, summer, fall
Flower colorPink flowers produced on long pedicelsPurple/Lavender, red, white, pink
USDA hardiness zone3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
SunlightPartial to full sunFull sun (6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day)
WaterLowWater only when the top 1-inch of soil is somewhat dry
SoilGood drainage, Well draining and sandy loam soil
TemperatureCan tolerate freezing temperaturesCan sustain the temperatures below freezing point
FertilizerDo not need heavy fertilizationDoes not require frequent fertilizer applications
Gardening and Landscape ideasGarden flowering beds, patios, city, coastal, and courtyard gardenButterfly garden, rock garden, accent plant, mass plantings in residential landscape
Diseases and pestsRoot rot, aphidsRoot rot, Leaf rot, spider mites

Key Differences between Rose Campion and Lambs Ear

The only fundamental difference between rose campion and lamb’s ear is their leaves. The foliage of the rose campion is green and oval-shaped, 5 inches in size.

In contrast, the leaves of the lamb’s ear are large and covered with silvery hairs, giving a fuzzy appearance.

Rose Campion

Rose campion is grown abundantly for its flowers. Its blooms are almost 1 inch long and consist of five petals in vivid shades of pink or hot magenta that complement its green foliage. This plant blooms from late spring to late summer and remains evergreen in milder climates.

Rose Campion
Rose Campion (Lychnis coronaria) is a flowering perennial admired for their vividly colored flowers. 

Dusty Miller plant, with its pink flowers, grows well with petunias and phlox and attracts butterflies and bees.

Foliage and blooming plants
Lychnis coronaria pairs well with other foliage and blooming plants and decorates outdoor spaces.
Credit: Flicker

Lambs ears is a stunning, herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae family and grown for its foliage. The leaves are thick, oblong-elliptical, and grow in rosettes, while flowering stems are erect (50 cm long) and bear small, pink, or purplish flowers. It blooms in summer and attracts pollinators. Therefore, this plant is ideal for butterflies and city gardens.

Lamb’s ear is in full bloom with pollinators. Removing these tiny purplish flowers in summer enhances foliage production and maintains compact growth.

Rose Campion vs. Lambs Ear: Care Guide

Although the foliage and flowers of rose campion and lambs ears differ, they have similar growing conditions. Knowing these growing conditions will help beginner and expert gardeners successfully plant these plants. Let’s find out the growing and care factors of the rose campion and lambs ear.

Light

Both these plants need bright sunlight to thrive and survive. However, the rose campion plant needs protection from the afternoon sunlight because light during this time can burn or scorch the leaves. When growing Dust Miller as a houseplant, situate the plant in an east or west-facing window for morning and evening sunlight. Avoid placing it in a south-facing window to prevent the scorching afternoon sun.

On the other hand, a lamb’s ear needs full sun for fuller growth. Direct sunlight of 6-8 hours is perfect for this plant to produce foliage similar to a lamb’s ears. Be aware not to plant it in the shade because too much shade will retain the moisture, thus rotting its leaves.

Soil

Lambs’ ear and rose campion need well-draining and aerated soil for best growth and flowering. They can not withstand overly wet soils because of root decaying and rottening. So plant them in soils that have compost or worm castings and sand. Also, plant them in containers with drainage holes when growing them as houseplants.

Water

Rose campion and lambs ear plants are drought tolerant and can survive stressful growing conditions. So both these plants need water only once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Water them when the top 1-inch of the soil feels dry to gently touch and apply near the plant base without wetting the leaf surfaces. Otherwise, watering near the rosette of leaves will attract mealybugs and the growth of powdery mildew fungus.

Temperature

Rose campion is a temperate plant that needs cold air treatment for flowering.
In contrast, the lamb’s ear plant is tolerant of moderate temperatures. However, it needs shade during hot summer days.

Fertilizer

Further more, these plants do not need fertilizer applications (enriched soil promotes root rot, leading to poor growth and development). So the only fertilizer application at the planting time is perfect for these plants.

Pruning

Both these plants are prolific growers and need regular deadheading to avoid self-seeding and more flower production. Prune off the lower, older leaves and spent flowers to promote new growth and buds.
In the lamb’s ear, many gardeners remove the flower stalks for more foliage growth. Otherwise, this plant will use all its energy for blooming and seed sets.

Propagation

Rose campion and lamb’s ears are self-seeding plants that are easy to grow and propagate. However, Harvest the seeds in late summer from dry and spent flowers to propagate these plants. Firstly, Dry them and store them in a cool place through the winter.

Sow the seeds in a lightweight and porous potting mix before the 6-weeks of the last frost of the season. Water the soil daily and place it in a well-lit area. Within three weeks, the seed will germinate.

FAQs on Rose Campion vs. Lambs Ear

What is another name for Rose Campion?

Rose campion (Lychnis coronaria) is nicknamed bloody William, dusty miller (because of its soft, silvery-gray, and velvet-like foliage), corn rose, and red bird’s eye. Another essential characteristic of this plant is its genus name. The genus Lychnis was coined by Theophrastus from the Greek word “lychnos,” meaning “lamp,” which refers to the leaves as lamp wicks in ancient times. While the other common name, garland flowers, refers to using its blooms to make garlands for athletic champions.

What plant is similar to the Rose Campion?

Lychnis coronaria pairs perfectly well with other flowering perennials, such as pink, white, lilac, and magenta-colored flowers. In fact, the most suitable companion plant for Lychnis coronaria is winecups (Callirhoe involucrata), Achellia ‘Terracotta’ (Yarrow), Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove), Kniphofia ‘Tawny King’ (Red hot poker), and coneflower.

Does a Lamb’s Ear grow in pots?

Lambs ear is a fast-growing plant with a mat-forming rosette of leaves that radiates beauty and attracts butterflies. Yes, this plant can quickly be grown in pots. Moreover, plant it in a 4-inch pot 18 to 20 inches apart in a full sun location. Keep the soil moist to promote root hydration and growth. Also, plant it in well-draining soil to prevent root rot and not fertilize.

Will Lamb’s Ears survive winter?

Lamb’s ear tolerates temperatures below freezing point and requires no protection during winters. This plant is only sensitive to overwatering and poor soil drainage that leads to root and foliage rot. So, be careful when watering your Lambs ear plant during spring and summer. Water only when the top 1-inch of topsoil is dry and maintains good air circulation.

What is similar to Lamb’s Ear?

The plants identical to lamb’s ear are Yarrow, Snow in summer, Mock Strawberry, and Bee Balm. Also, Stachys byzantina makes a great companion with these plants and enhances the aesthetics of gardens and landscapes. 

Is Lamb’s Ear invasive?

Being a fast grower, Lamb’s ear spreads quickly in gardens and landscapes, outshining the neighboring plants. Therefore, this plant is considered invasive in many regions (especially North America). Its creeping stems start rooting when they come in contact with soil.

What are the uses of Rose Campion?

With its glorious flowers, rose campion has many benefits. Besides, its flowers are used to make garlands for athletic champions. Also, foliage is used as lamp wicks. At the same time, its seeds are used as medicine to treat scorpion bites when soaked in wine.

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