Perennial. I planted a few of these in my back garden, which gets nearly deep shade after the beginning of April. I love looking at these, and especially touching them… they add a really cool texture with their soft greyish green velvet. This spring (2007) I started thinking about plants in terms of texture–less what the flowers would look like, because you have to live with the texture a lot longer than the flowers.
Anyhow, I’m glad to find something so interesting for shade because there aren’t a whole lot of options and about 70 percent of my back yard is in shade all day. This plant can grow in sun or shade. In sun these are supposed to shoot up a spire of purple flowers, but I might not see these… and that’s ok.
Update April 20, 2007: plant is blooming little purple flowers, and getting huge. This is a fast-growing plant. I’ve just found out that it can be invasive, and no wonder. It really grows fast and for anyone wanting to feel successful at plants this might be one to consider. I’ll have to keep a watch out on it to make sure it doesn’t spread too far.
Update April 20, 2008: Last summer I wound up pulling all the lamb’s ears. They had grown so big and gotten very straggly and rotted looking that it looked more like a compost-y mess than velvety lamb’s ear.