It’s rare when I get to say that a brand-new, never-been-seen-before plant has hit the market. But here it is, ‘Lilac Falls’ hybrid betony—a unique, exciting, and beautiful option to add to the summer’s selection of perennials. This is known as an intergeneric hybrid, resulting from a cross between Stachys and Lamium—each a durable, attractive genus in the mint family. ‘Lilac Falls’ is easy to grow and produces scads of flowers, and if you remember to deadhead, it will rebloom. What more could you want?
This newbie has a cascading habit and can tolerate some drought, but be careful: Because of the Lamium genes, in a real drought it will definitely need watering. This plant also grows better in the South if given light shade. Otherwise, ‘Lilac Falls’ is not a prima donna and will make do in most situations. It’s long blooming, producing lavender pink flowers that are similar looking, albeit larger, than those of its cousin ‘Hummelo’ betony (Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’, Zones 4–8). Although its weeping form looks great in containers, it would be equally stunning as a ground cover.
The hummingbirds definitely agree with me about the loveliness of the flowers. Deer and rabbits may nip at the silvery-green leaves, but they generally leave them alone. Since this is a brand-new plant, it may be in short supply this season, but it’s worth tracking down.
‘Lilac Falls’ hybrid betony
Stachys ‘Lilac Falls’
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; moist, well-drained soil
Native range: Intergeneric hybrid
Stephanie Cohen has spent most of her life trialing, speaking about, and teaching all things plants. The author of several books, she lectures extensively around North America.
Illustration: Elara Tanguy