How to Grow and Care for Spotted Dead Nettles

Do you have a piece of ground that remains bare because of shade? Then we have a perfect 👌 ground cover for you to grow spotted dead nettle.

If you live in a warm region with sheltered areas, these plants remain evergreen, but elsewhere, they can be semi-evergreen or grown as herbaceous.

The foliage and flowers will greatly impact the landscape, and it belongs to the mint family. So, these plants are pretty tough.

Still, the spotted dead nettles are listed as invasive in some parts, mostly in the upper eastern states.

Plant Name: Lamium maculatum

Other Name: Spotted dead nettle, spotted henbit

Plant Type: Perennial or herbaceous

Native Areas: Africa, Asia, Europe

Light Requirement: Partial sun to shady areas

Watering: Moderate

Fertilizer: Compost

Toxicity: Non-toxic

Temperature: Most temperatures

Propagation: Cuttings, division, runners

Growth: 6-9 feet tall and 12-24 inches wide

Soil Type: Loamy soil

USDA Hardiness Zones: 3-8

Spotted Dead Nettle Care

gorgeous purple flowers of  spotted dead nettle

The Lamium maculatum remains short and can stand less than a foot tall. But what does spread is the attractive variegated foliage reaching three times the height.

Most of the time, the plants grow for the beacon silver leaves than the flowers. Even the flower can be pretty. You may also find that some foliage with a silver stripe reverts to green leaves.

But you can revert them to the silver leaves by pruning them out and grow well as ground cover. As the purple dragon is a creeper, it also looks fabulous in hanging baskets.

Companion Plants to Grow With Purple Dragon

As the spotted dead nettle is a shade-loving plant, you can choose the following cultivars to grow with them as companion plants:

Eventually, your dead nettle will form a mat and can naturalize in some areas where you can have a cover problem in the garden.

❗ Remember these plants are invasive depending on where you live, and best to check with your local county extension.

Types of Spotted Dead Nettles

Another relative of the spotted dead nettle is the yellow archangel which can offer value to the garden as it has similar needs. The only problem is that this plant is more aggressive to grow. You can find other cultivars to grow as seen here:

  • The ghost has light purple flowers with silver foliage and dark-leaved plants where the silver stands out.

  • The cannons gold blooms pink flowers with shell pink to white leaves.

  • Then you have white Nancy with white flowers and silver leaves.

  • Anne Greenway has mauve flowers with silver-green leaves.

Lamium Maculatum Light Needs

 spotted dead nettle under partial to full shade

The near evergreen plant can grow in partial to full shade without concerns. It does not need a lot of water when you grow them in full shade. These are low-maintenance plants and one of the best perennials to grow in the shade.

Soil Needs for Spotted Dead Nettle

well-draining soil for  spotted dead nettle

You can grow spotted dead nettle in well-drained soil on the loamy to acidic side. You can add some compost to clay soils to help improve drainage.

Watering Spotted Dead Nettle

Spotted deadnettle can thrive in dry conditions to cover large areas quickly in shady spots. It needs little care as a ground cover, but the more light you give it, the more water it needs. The reason is that several cultivars perform their best in evenly moist soils.

Temperature and Humidity

temperature and humidity of  spotted dead nettle

Spotted dead nettle can thrive in different environments to climates in moist conditions from late spring, summer, to winter. However, the spotted deadnettle does not do well in warm and humid locations.

Fertilizing Spotted Deadnettle

All you need for your spotted deadnettle is compost-like manure tea.

Pruning Lamium Maculatum

You should prune your Lamium maculatum in early summer after the first bloom. You can do this by cutting or pinching back the stems to help stimulate growth. When you notice mature plants with large leaves becoming leggy, you can cut them back to above the ground.

This will help them grow more compact and busy. Snip off the solid green leaves, or it will lose the variegated appearance. These plants thrive under trees and can spread out if not controlled.

Snip them to the height you prefer and thin them out if they get too thick.

Potting Spotted Dead Nettle

You can grow spotted dead nettle in containers or place them in a hanging basket. They look fabulous in a container garden standing on the porch. All your plant needs is a potting mix and a pot with drainage holes, and water them well.

You may need to water a smaller container often.

Overwintering Spotted Dead Nettle

The plant will remain semi-evergreen in some areas, and in other regions living in colder areas, they are deciduous. If you want to encourage new growth during spring, then cut back the plant after the first frost in late fall, but it all depends on where you live.

Propagating Spotted Dead Nettles

The spotted dead nettle will propagate easily through runners, division, or cuttings.


Look for runners that have rooted themselves into the ground and cut the runner off with a pruning shear. Then plant them in another spot and water them well.


  1. Dig up the entire spotted dead nettle carefully.

  2. With a sharp knife, divide the roots into sections.

  3. Then replant them in another location and water them well.


  1. Form a healthy spotted dead nettle and select a branch you want to cut.

  2. Remove the leaves at the bottom and leave some at the top.

  3. Push the bare part into the soil in a desired location and water.

While the spotted dead nettle can self-seed, they do not do well if you try to use the seed for propagation.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

The spotted dead nettle has few problems with pests which is a good feature above the white flowers displayed in summer. The plant is even deer-resistant but can develop leaf spotting in high humidity.

So if you live in mild climates with a lot of humidity, provide them with some dry shade and enough spacing to lessen the problem.

The plant will spread fast to form a ground cover, adding textural contrast to any bare space with the silvery leaves. Some common pets are snails and slugs; occasionally, you may see aphids on the stems and leaves.

Also, be careful of stem rot in too-moist areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

The spotted dead nettle is a flowering perennial, and stinging nettles are noxious weeds, but you can eat them when well prepared. The stinging nettle grows tall and has a common name, deadnettles, but it stings. At the same time, the stingers on the spotted dead nettle are dead and harmless.

The deadnettles can grow fast and spread quickly up to two feet more within a year.

The spotted deadnettle attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies 🦋 and other pollinators to the garden in spring.

The spotted deadnettle is deer and rabbit resistant.

Spotted dead-nettles grow their best in part to full shade instead of full sun. The plant belongs to the mint family and can spread fast to form a ground cover.

The dead-nettles can fill shady areas in a garden with their low-growing habit and quickly choke out weeds.

Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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