Digging In The Dirt: Dead Nettle

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Orchid Frost

Dead Nettle, this is where it all began. “It just looks cool as hell,” I said to myself. My eyes were immediately drawn to the shimmering variegated silver leaves and cute flowers. I needed ground cover and this fit the bill.

Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum):

  • Type: Flower, perennial, ground cover
  • Exposure: Mostly sunny to full shade
  • Hardiness zones: 3-8
  • Blooms: Spring-Summer
  • Height: 6-12″
  • Division: Yes
  • Cost: $9 potted

I adore this little plant. My house faces north and my front garden gets very little sun once Summer arrives. Additionally, I hate weeding. Ironically, I believe dead nettle is considered a weed. It provides dense ground cover that chokes out weeds. The weeds that do manage to find their way through are generally small and easy to remove.

In dead nettle, we have a plant that will grow well in shady areas, the silvery leaves provide a great contrast in dark garden areas, and it will spread…quickly.

I own three variations of this plant.

  • Orchid Frost – A frosty pastel purple flower with variegated silver leaves with dark boarders.
  • Purple Dragon – Darker flower than the orchid frost with a similar leaf pattern.
  • White Nancy – White flowers with mostly silver, less variegated, leaf pattern.
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Orchid Frost, year one. 
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White Nancy, year two. 
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