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Dead nettle has lively silvery foliage.

Because its common name is so unappealing, dead nettle is more commonly known by its Latin name, Lamium. or more specifically, Lamium maculata. It is a low and subdued plant with pastel pink, lavender or white blooms, and small deep green leaves. However, modern garden varieties have silvery variegated foliage that brightens shady spots. Some are yellowish green.

The herbaceous stems spread only one or two feet at first, but then root into the soil where they land, and continue to spread some more. The mounding growth can get about half a foot deep, or a bit deeper where it can pile up on other plants or rocks. After late spring or early summer bloom, deteriorating flower stems should be shorn back to enhance density of foliar growth below.

Stems that begin to spread a bit too far into areas where they are not wanted can be left long enough to develop roots through spring, and then pulled up and planted where they are wanted. Even before they spread that much, no one would miss a few rooted stems discretely taken from established plants to make copies. Plants in sunnier spots want richer soil and more water.

6 thoughts on “Dead Nettle

  1. I have seen these in landscaping and not known what they were. Didn’t try to find out because they weren’t that attractive to me, but it’s nice to know what they are and where they might grow well. Sometimes a plant (pachysandra, say) seems unattractive and then I go somewhere (Ladew Gardens) and see what it’s supposed to look like….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These happen to do well in small informal gardens near the coast, mixed with other small perennials, where they can die back for part of the year if they want to, without bothering anyone. Within inland valley just a few miles away, they prefer more sheltered locations where they do not get desiccated by warm breezes. They are not my favorite, but some people really like them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the name is rather unappealing. ‘Nettle’ is considered by some to be an undesirable weed. ‘Dead’, well, that just sounds dead. Regardless, I am none too keen on it either; but can not say so in the gardening column. It certainly looks good in other people’s gardens.

      Liked by 1 person

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