Are dead nettles ground covers or perennial flowers?

I've seen dead nettle recommended as a good ground cover in books, but the local nursery sells it as a perennial flower. Which is it?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

The quick answer is both.  When grown in large patches, spotted dead nettle (Lamium maculatum) makes an effective, shade-tolerant ground cover. This mint relative forms new roots where stems touch moist soil, so it forms a solid mat. In addition, it can self-seed and spread throughout the garden. It performs best in Zones 4-10 but languishes in the heat. ‘White Nancy’, with silvery leaves and snow white flowers, is one of the best cultivars for warm areas. ‘Beacon Silver’ is a popular pink-flowered form. A cluster of several dead nettle plants brightens any shady perennial border. In this case, it?s considered a flowering perennial instead of a ground cover.


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