Dictionary of Flowers: Lamium Maculatum
(Dead Nettle)

Lamium Maculatum (Dead Nettle). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Paul Asman and Flickr
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Lamium Maculatum (Dead Nettle). Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of Paul Asman and Flickr

  • Lamium Maculatum
  • Common name: dead nettle
  • Family:  Lamiaceae
  • Category: perennial in USDA zones 3 to 10
  • Height: 9" to 12"
  • Width: 9" and up
  • Shade/part shade
  • Blooms: spring to early summer. Grown mostly for foliage
  • Growth habit: mat-forming, trailing. Used as a spiller in container combinations
  • Maintenance: easy
  • Soil: average to fertile, moist, well drained. Water regularly if grown in containers
  • Garden uses: containers, hanging baskets, mixed border, woodland garden, groundcover
  • Diseases: resistant to disease
  • Pests: slugs in wet weather

Spotted nettle is a herbaceous perennial with hairy foliage and small flowers, useful as a groundcover in shady areas of the garden. It spreads fast by rhizomes.

It has small green leaves, often times variegated with white or pink. The flowers grow on short stems above the mat-forming foliage.

Blooms during spring to early summer, flowers can be pink or purple.

Spotted nettle is native to most parts of Europe and Turkey.

It is an easy plant to grow. It requires average to fertile and moist soils. It tolerates poorer soils, but it requires a fairly consistent amount of water to grow in these.

Do not over-water, just keep ground moist. If stressed because of the lack of it, spotted nettle will die to the ground but it might return from their rhizomes the next spring. It becomes more drought tolerant as it gets established.

When planting in spring, amend soil with organic matter (compost or manure). If grown as a ground cover, maintenance is easy. It doesn't require deadheading. Fertilize in early spring and midsummer with a balanced formula. 

When grown in containers, water regularly and trim if it becomes lanky or looks tired. Do not prune late in the season. Deadhead lamium grown in containers to keep the plant looking tidy.

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Lamium can become somewhat invasive, check with your county extension agency before planting on the ground.

Spotted nettle can be propagated by division, in spring or fall. Stems of the plant root as they touch the ground. Separate stems with roots and replant. It can also be grown from seed, though germination is slow and irregular. If growing by seed, wintersow.




IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Though fairly resistant to disease, it can be bothered by fungal infections. Remove affected plants and treat condition with fungicide. If slugs are a problem, bait as needed.

Popular varieties:

  • Lamium maculatum 'Pink Chablis' - silver leaves with green rim. Pale pink flowers
  • Lamium maculatum 'Purple Dragon' -silver leaves with green rim. Purple snapdragon-like flowers
  • Lamium maculatum 'Anne Greenway' - green leaves with yellow edges and white centers. Pink flowers
  • Lamium maculatum 'Golden Anniversary' - green leaves with gold edges and white centers. Purple flowers
  • Lamium maculatum 'Red Nancy' - white leaves with dark green rim. Purple flowers
  • Lamium maculatum 'Chequers' - deep green leaves with white center. Purple flowers
  • Lamium maculatum 'Gold Cannon' - chartreuse leaves with pink flowers

IWILLWRITECAPTION. Image used under a Creative Commons licence with the kind permission of NAMEOFFLICKRUSER and Flickr

Click to see Lavandula (Lavender)
Click to see Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy)

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