Closeup of dried lamb ear bundle tied with ribbon

How to Preserve Lambs Ear 

Thus sweet garden perennial, Lambs Ear, dries beautifully. 

Here’s how plus four ways to use dried Lambs Ear  in your home decor.

 

I have a bit of a garden secret. 

And since we’re friends, I’m sharing that secret with you. 

I mean, it’s not like I promised anyone I’d keep it secret or anything. It’s not that kind of secret.

Did you know Lamb’s Ear — that prolific perennial garden grower — dries beautifully? That it retains its signature soft silvery sage color and that soft fuzzy texture?

 

 

Two Lambs Ear Leaves on quartz counter

I know!

I was surprised, too!

Aren’t those the sweetest leaves?

I actually appreciate them more inside, up close than I ever have in the garden. Maybe because the soft fluffiness is all the way down at my feet as they grow as a ground cover and the soft color gets overwhelmed by the bright show-offs of the garden. Definitely relegated to supporting role status.

But inside, up close, the Lambs Ear is the ingenue, the new star.

 

Closeup of Cluster of Lambs Ear drying

So How Do You Preserve Lambs Ear?

 

Step 1) Harvest Your Lambs Ear

 

Using sharp shears, I cut mine as late as possible. I was harvesting from my lovely neighbors yard and I didn’t want to take them while she was still able to enjoy them. I harvested after a couple of light freezes had already hit. Late October in NW Missouri.

Make sure you harvest after any dew or rainfall has evaporated. They should be dry when you cut them and bring them in, helping to eliminate any potential mold.  I had none, so I don’t know how likely this is. But it’s standard advice whenever you’re harvesting for drying purposes.

Cut the stems as long as possible, giving you more potential in arrangements.

Lambs Ear in a glass bulb vase on a counter with two leaves on the counter and acorns beside

 

I immediately placed some with longer stems into short dry bud vases and enjoyed them all through the house, while they were working hard drying.

I had another 100 or so leaves on a table laying out flat. (sorry, didn’t grab a picture of that).

I turned some of the leaves what I would call upside down — with the spine of the leaf up. This prevented those from curling in while drying, Some I laid “right side up” (the leaf spine on the table) so that as they dried, the edges of the leaves would have a bit of natural curl to them.

This gives variety so that with some leaves fully open and some just opening up. Just as we would see them fresh in the garden.

7 Multi-Leaf Sprigs

I gathered several multi-leaf sprigs and left them intact while drying. 

Originally, I thought these might be good for boutonnieres for our daughter’s wedding, but they also worked great for making charming bundles to hang or set about.

So I suggest leaving your multi-leaf sprigs intact. When you are ready for a project, you can always pull them apart then if that’s what you need.

There really isn’t anything more to it.

It’s really this simple! 

Lambs ear drying in a glass bulb vase on a wood tray with a wicker candle holder behind

Step 2) That’s It! You’re Done!

They do all the hard work.

They hold a lot of water in their stems. You’ll see that the stems slowly start to shrivel up, but those charming leaves shrink just a bit, but really nothing more. They do get brittle over time so be aware of that.

Store them loosely in a sturdy box with plenty of space.

Cardboard shipping box filled with dried lambs ear

 

As I moved them to the box for storage during the busy holidays, I was careful to arrange them by general size. The box was much fuller, but this picture is after I made a wreath and the bundles below, so not as full and not as organized!

This organization was really helpful. 

They look so much like the fresh version, but they are actually rather fragile. So I was glad I didn’t have to dig through the box to find the size I needed. Just an extra tip from me to you. 

What Can You Do With Lambs Ear?

Specifically, Dried Lambs Ear? 

 

NOTE: don’t plan on your wreaths or arrangements lasting for years.

I’m good with that because I am planting a field of lambs ear for next year. And it’s part of my Christmas plan (shhhh, act surprised, okay?).

 

 How About a Wreath?

TIP: As they dry, they do become brittle, so it’s best to do any intricate arranging, such as this wreath, within a week or so of cutting. 

 

Wreath with lambs ear bundles facing out on the bottom of the wreath with a band of twill and the ends hanging down

The wreath tutorial is waiting for you here.

UPDATE: Or How About Christmas Ornaments?

A Lambs Ear Christmas ornament hanging from a fir branch

 

 Isn’t she the sweetest! And here are the full details.

TIP: The ornaments need to be made with fresh cuttings (within a day or two is best). The color and texture remains as they dry, but they do become brittle. 

Another Update: How About Little Lambs Ear Trees:

But first, a quick pause: are you inspired by these posts about drying Lambs Ear and how to use it? Please consider subscribing for more fun ideas and how-to’s. You determine how much is right for you. My goal here is for us all to live joy-filled lives, partially through using our creative muscles. It’s a trip to the gym that makes you smile.

 

Thank You! Now back to these cute little trees!

two small lambs ear trees in foreground with large tree and poinsettia tree in background wit linen runner

 

Aren’t these charming? 

They are not hard to make, but they do not last as long as the ornaments and wreaths do. But I loved having them for several weeks to enjoy during the holidays. Yu can find all the details here.

Here and Now, Let’s Talk about Bundles!

We already talked about, and I showed you several pictures of little groupings of Lambs Ear leaves on longer stems in small  vases. Easy peasy! 

But maybe you want something sweet to hang:

  • in a window
  • in the center of a wreath
  • in the center of an empty vintage frame
  • on an armoire door
  • in a gallery grouping for a touch of soft texture
  • on a wall as part of a shelf vignette
  • on a bedpost

. . . just a few ideas to get you going

Or  lay one on an antique book on a sidetable, or amoungst your shelf displays, on kitchen open shelves, . . .

 

Let’s Make Lambs Ear Bundles:

 

Three Multi-leaf sprigs of Lambs Ears on table

 Pick out two or three of your multi-leaf sprigs that layer well together.

 

 

Layered bundle of Lambs Ear with a ribbon loop on end of stems and another length of ribbon beside

 

There are lots of ways of doing this, but I used two 16-inch lengths of sheer wired ribbon.

 

Make a loop in one of these by tying a slip knot about 1/3 of the way in.

 

Lay that ribbon on your work surface with the loop up. Place your bundles of leaves on the long length. 

 

Finished bundle of dried lambs ear with ribbon tied around the stems and loop

 

Wrap the second ribbon around several times and knot in back.

Keep it sweet and simple to match the sweeet simplicity of the leaves.

 

 

bundle of lambs ear tied with ribbon on a table
bundle of dried lambs ear tied with ribbon on a book on a sidetable

A blog post on  how to make the wreath is coming very soon!

Pinterest Pin of dried lambs ear in a vase above a bundle of lambs ear on a burled wood table

I hope you give this gives you inspiration to add Lambs Ear to your plantings if you don’t have some already. Just imagine the fun we will have with this in the Fall!

Here's to Joy-Filled Living, Diane

25 Comments

  1. Kathy

    This is great information. I’ve had Lambs Ear in my little garden by the back door for years. It’s prolific and spreads. I sometimes have to thin it out.
    But now I can put it to good use and bring the beauty inside. Thanks. ❤️❤️

    Reply
    • Diane

      YES! And I love it even moire indoors!

      Reply
  2. Ann Kehl

    Never knew – I will be putting Lambs Ear in my garden this spring and will try drying in the Fall. thanks for the info.

    Reply
  3. Tammie

    Thanks for this post! Guess I need to plant more lambs ear this spring for drying. I love to see wreaths with lambs ear in them.

    Reply
    • Jo Nicoletti

      Fantastic! I have several beds of this lovely stuff. I never even thought about drying. Thank you so much!

      Reply
      • Diane

        I’m so glad to help! I can’t wait to see what you do with them. Please share some pics.

        Reply
  4. Cindy Rust

    I had no idea that lamb’s ear would dry so nicely!! The bundles will look so beautiful in your Christmas decor! I need to plant a field too! Thanks for sharing! Pinned! And BTW I found you love on the FB Thistlewood Mastermind page!

    Reply
  5. Suzanne

    Thank you so much for the tips and the creative inspiration. I plan on using my Lambs Ears, along with a bunch of Dusty Miller leaves that I also grow. They are very similar and add another interesting texture. There are different varieties that you can choose from.
    I am doing a mostly gold and white Thanksgiving centerpiece’s for the tables I set up. I love using items from nature.
    P.S. A fine floral glitter spray adds a beautiful, delicate shimmer to arrangements and if fabulous to spray on cloth tablecloths that washes out.

    Reply
  6. Leslie H.

    Actually this is a medicinal plant too. It can be used for cuts, scrapes, burns and bacterial infections. Also makes a good tea and aids health.

    Reply
    • Diane

      Wow! That’s really great to know. Thanks for sharing that with all of us!

      Reply
  7. Eleanor

    Mylambs ear is known as pioneers first aid to stop bleeding and also anti inflammation / antibiotic (?). Am looking for more info and how to preserve for these uses.

    Reply
  8. Pamela Spencer

    I love my lambs ears throughout my gardens, and they really attract the pollinators! I read it was used during the Civil War to place on wounds as an antibiotic, cleansing agent. Interesting. I will have to try that. I love your wreath and I will go out tomorrow and “prune” some of my “ears”! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Diane

      I am hearing more and more about lambs ear having medicinal properties. Hurray! And I can’t wait to show everyone how I used Lambs ear for one of my Christmas displays. Stay tuned!

      Reply
  9. Joan Clanton

    I dried some lamb’s ears in my food dehydrator when I dried cherry tomatoes. They came out great! I put a small handful in a little yellow ceramic bird that has a hole in it’s back. I think it’s from the 50s. Looks so cute!

    Reply
    • Diane

      That sound delightful Joan! Do you have a picture you can send me? I never thought about putting them in a dehydrator. I just let them dry in their display.

      Reply
  10. Renae

    Great idea!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thanks Renae! I just can;t stop laying with the Lambs Ear!

      Reply
  11. Barbara at Mantel and Table

    Wow – who knew?! These are beautiful. I’m going to try to find some to dry myself. Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
    • Diane

      Oh, yea! I think I need to plant a whole field of it next year. One of three things I’ve found so far that the deer will leave alone.

      Reply
  12. Lynn

    Thank you for this post. My brother brought us several clumps of lambs ear from his house before Annie’s wedding. It is definitely prolific. I have a lot in my yard.

    I love this idea. I’m going to go cut some tomorrow and bring them in to dry.

    There is so much you can do with these sweet little leaves.

    Reply
  13. Beth Anne

    Your little clumps with ribbon gave me great idea to decorate my tree this year. I have roses coming so will tube them and keep it simple

    Reply
    • Diane

      I love this idea Beth Anne. Please send me pics!!!

      Reply
  14. Angela

    Good to know.

    Reply
  15. Doris

    Thank for the info about drying this wonderful plant.. I’ve tried it time to time.. but, mine turns brown.. not sure what I’m not doing g!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Do you have it in bright sunlight? That could cause it. Mine stays nicely for maybe 2 to 3 years. It does get brittle with time.

      Reply

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