Dead Nettle - Lamium maculatum cultivars

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Lamium maculata 'Beacon Silver' Picture courtesy www.steyns-nursery.co.zaLamium maculata 'Beacon Silver' Picture courtesy www.steyns-nursery.co.zaThis genus of about 50 species consists of annual and perennial flowering plants, belongs to the mint family, and is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The common name "dead nettle" refers to their resemblance to "stinging nettles", but the two are unrelated; and unlike stinging nettles, Lamium do not have stinging hairs.

Many exciting named selections are available to local gardeners; and of all the shade-loving groundcovers dead nettle is probably one of the quickest and easiest to grow. Their gorgeous variegated leaves make them worthy garden subjects for adding texture and as contrast plants in garden beds and borders. Cultivars can have mottled green, silver white or gold foliage; and in late spring and summer they bear showy spikes of shell pink, pink, dark lavender, or white flowers, depending upon the cultivar.

Lamium maculata 'White Nancy' Picture courtesy www.steyns-nursery.co.zaLamium maculata 'White Nancy' Picture courtesy www.steyns-nursery.co.zaLamium species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species and are loved by bees. They are also beautiful planted in hanging baskets and pots, mixed with other suitable plants.

Dead Nettle is a vigorous, easy-to-grow, semi-evergreen perennial. Most varieties will grow +-10 to 15cm tall; reproduction is vegetative growth, and any stems touching the soil will root readily, and under optimal conditions the plants can become invasive, but are easy to control. Lamium thrives in fertile, moist but well-drained soil, but is adaptable to most garden soils; neutral, alkaline and acid, and will grow in sandy soils if they are well prepared with added compost, and in clay beds if the drainage is good.

Although dead nettle enjoys moist soils, once established it will even flourish in difficult areas of dry shade. Lamium grow throughout the country and enjoy a cool shady spot in the garden; even growing in full shade. They are very hardy to frost, but Lamium maculatum 'Pink Peuter' Picture courtesy www.steyns-nursery.co.zaLamium maculatum 'Pink Peuter' Picture courtesy www.steyns-nursery.co.zaduring severe winters the foliage will partially or completely die down; if the roots are mulched the plants will recover in spring as they enter their new growth cycle. Plants will tolerate fairly dry conditions, but are not really well suited to very hot and dry inland areas; excessive sun and drought will scorch the foliage and lead to dieback. If grown in hot, humid regions ensure that the soil drains very well.

Although semi-evergreen in temperate climates, the plants are inclined to look a little untidy in winter; but grow with a vengeance again in spring. It is best to cut this plant back after the first bloom to promote compact growth. All cultivars are silver-variegated, but green shoots may occasionally develop, these need to be cut out or the plants will revert back to their original green form.

Propagation is usually by division of the rooted runners in spring.

Lamium do not suffer from many pests or diseases but keep an eye out for snails and slugs.

(Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver') has silver leaves with a very narrow green margin, and dark lavender-pink flowers.

(Lamium maculatum 'roseum') has silver-grey leaves and pink flowers.

(Lamium maculatum 'Chequers') has green leaves with a prominent silver stripe down the midrib and dark violet-pink flowers.

(Lamium maculatum 'Cannons Gold') has striking golden chartreuse leaves with soft mauve-pink flowers.

(Lamium maculatum 'White Nancy') has silver leaves with very narrow green margins, and white flowers.

(Lamium maculatum 'Pink Pewter') has silver-grey leaves, and soft-pink flowers.

 

Additional Info

  • Common Name: Dead Nettle
  • Latin Name: Lamium maculatum cultivars