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Deadnettle

Lamium

Shade gardens can offer some tricky planting situations that just a few plants adapt to well. Deadnettle is one of the plants that does well in shade and a wide variety of other growing conditions. The plant is easy to grow and brings lots of color to a shady corner with colorful foliage and long-blooming flowers.

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Light:

Part Sun, Shade

Type:

Height:

From 6 inches to 3 feet

Width:

From 1 to 5 feet

Flower Color:

Seasonal Features:

Zones:

4-8

Color Combinations

The most basic varieties of deadnettles offer a dull grey-green foliage, but also have silver leaves or silver markings. There are a few varieties with golden foliage. Like many plants in the mint family, the small tubular blooms end in two lower lips and a large hooded top in shades of pink, purple and white. While their peak bloom is often in late spring to early summer, many varieties continue to put on blossoms throughout the growing season, only stopping when the first frost occurs.   

See our favorite easy groundcovers.

Deadnettle Care Must-Knows

These easy-to-grow plants require very little care once established and create stunning mats of color in a shade garden. Deadnettles are most at home in well-drained soil with even moisture. Once established, they are quite tolerant of dry soil; they may just be a bit less vigorous. The biggest concern is overly moist soil. Most species and varieties will not tolerate too much moisture, so be sure to avoid soggy soil, especially standing water.  

What is well drained soil? Find out here.

Deadnettles prefer shade where they take on a green hue and their attractive variegations fade a bit over time. Since deadnettles are fairly vigorous growers, be sure to weed out any seedlings that develop. Shear the plants back after blossoming in their peak season to encourage well-branched plants and a hearty second bloom.

Here are tough perennials that grow in dry shade.

More Varieties of Deadnettle

'Anne Greenway' deadnettle

Creamy gold, silver, and green foliage make this variety of Lamium maculatum unique. The colorful foliage looks lovely with bright rose-colored blooms. Zones 3-8.

'Beacon Silver' deadnettle

Lamium maculatum 'Beacon Silver' has thick whorls of purple-pink two-lip flowers from spring through fall if deadheaded routinely and not allowed to desiccate. The small triangular leaves are mostly silver with a bright green edge. Zones 4-8.

'Herman's Pride' Yellow Archangel

Lamium galeobdolon  is more compact than the species. Its serrated leaves are crisply splashed with silver between the veins. In spring, whorls of yellow two-lip flowers bloom. Zones 4-8.

'Purple Dragon' deadnettle

Entirely silver leaves with a green edge make a beautiful backdrop for the deep purple blooms of this quick-spreading version of Lamium maculatum. Zones 4-9.

'White Nancy' deadnettle

This variety of Lamium maculatum  bears 1-inch triangular silver leaves rimmed in emerald. From spring onward, dense whorls of two-lip clean-white flowers appear at the tips of the stems. Deadhead for prolonged blooming. Zones 4-8.

Plant Deadnettle With:

Wild ginger
Wild ginger is a workhorse of a groundcover, spreading readily with beautifully glossy, slightly heart-shape leaves. It must have shade and moist but well-drained soil to thrive, but with the right conditions this native plant is indispensable, doing well where many other plants wouldn't.In spring it bears purplish maroon bell-shape blooms mostly hidden in the foliage.
Lilyturf
Used often as a groundcover or an edging plant, liriope is popular for good reason. It stays green year-round in many climates, produces pretty blue or white flowers, and is about as tough a plant as you'll hope to meet. Its dense tufts of almost-evergreen, broadly grassy leaves are often striped. Stiff stems bear tight spikes of tiny blue or white bells, similar to those of grape hyacinth. It is best protected from drying winds in rich, well-drained soil that retains moisture.
Heart-leaf brunnera
In spring, a cloud of tiny blue flowers hovers above brunnera's mound of fuzzy heart-shape leaves. The plant prefers partial shade but can grow in full sun in cool climates provided it receives adequate moisture. Variegated forms need more shade; in full sun they're likely to scorch. It is sometimes called Siberian bugloss.
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