Spotted dead-nettle – planting, care and tips

Spotted dead-nettle (Lamium maculatum)
Spotted dead-nettle (Lamium maculatum)

The spotted dead-nettle with its variegated leaves is a beautiful ground cover. This is what you should pay attention to when planting and caring for.

Profile of spotted dead-nettle:

Scientific name: Lamium maculatum

Plant family: mint family (Lamiaceae).

Other names: spotted henbit, purple dragon, spotted deadnettle, spotted dead nettle

Sowing time: spring

Planting time: spring

Flowering period: May to June

Location: semi-shady to shady

Soil quality: loamy, nutrient rich, humus rich

These information are for temperate climate!

Use in: ground cover, planters, under planting, overgrowth, flower garden, natural garden, potted garden, forest garden

Winter hardiness: hardy, USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 4 (-34 °C / -25 °F)

Bee and insect friendly: Yes

Plant characteristics and classification of spotted dead-nettle

Plant order, origin and occurrence of spotted dead-nettle

The spotted deadnettle (Lamium maculatum) is a member of the deadnettle genus, which is particularly appreciated by gardeners for its versatile ground cover. They all belong to the mint family (Lamiaceae). The spotted dead nettle is native to Europe, North Africa and West Asia, where it grows in damp forest areas.

Characteristics of spotted dead-nettle


As a typical ground cover, the spotted dead-nettle remains low and only grows to heights between 20 and 25 centimeters (8 and 10 in). The undemanding wild perennial is winter green and spreads quickly by root-forming runners and rhizomes, but does not proliferate. Their stems are square – as is typical for dead nettles.


The spotted dead-nettle owes its name to its foliage: it is spotted green-white to green-silvery. The leaves are opposite, heart-shaped to oval and bluntly serrated at the edge.


The axillary, two-part lip-shaped flowers of the spotted deadnettle show up sometimes in lighter, sometimes in darker pink or violet. There are four to eight of them in dense pseudowhorls. During the flowering period, which lasts from May to June, they attract numerous insects to the garden, especially bumblebees.


The seeds of the spotted deadnettle ripen in so-called schizocarp fruits.

Spotted dead-nettle – cultivation and care


With the exception of some varieties, Lamium maculatum is only suitable for partially shaded garden areas without direct sunlight.


The garden soil at the planting site should be loamy, loose and as humus as nutrient-rich. It is optimal if the earth is permanently moderately moist to moist.

Spotted dead-nettle (Lamium maculatum)
Spotted dead-nettle (Lamium maculatum)


For an extensive planting you need around 15 plants per square meter (per 10 sq ft.). Keep a planting distance of 30 centimeters (12 in) so that the individual specimens do not get in each other’s way. Some compost or horn shavings help Lamium maculatum to grow. Finally, everything is watered well.



The lighter the spotted deadnettle stands, the more often it needs to be watered: the soil at the planting site should not be dry for a long time.


A little fertilizer, e.g. compost, is applied every few years.


To propagate the spotted dead-nettle, simply cut off rooted runners and plant them in another place. The spotted dead nettle can also be propagated by cuttings. Self-propagation by self-sowing is also possible. With the help of ants, the plant also spreads its seeds.

Diseases and pests

In contrast to most types of dead nettle, lamium maculatum is frequently attacked by snails. Aphids and gray mold can also occur.


The spotted dead-nettle is hardy down to -34 °C / -25 °F. When growing in a bucket, some winter protection may be advisable. In any case, you should move the container plant to the wall of the house and place it on an insulating plate or wood block.

Use in the garden

With its decorative foliage, the spotted dead-nettle is a true ornamental plant. It is just as suitable for planting under trees as for planting the edges of trees. In the foreground, it forms a beautiful framework for other plants, whose floral splendor underlines them. Lamium maculatum can also be combined with summer bloomers in a flowerpot.

Tip: Although the perennial likes it to be damp, you should fill a drainage layer in the pot so that the rootstock is not wet.


A wide variety of the spotted deadnettle is available. The individual varieties differ not only in their flower color (white, pink, violet, salmon), but also in their foliage, which can be spotted, streaked or edged.

A selection:

  • Lamium maculatum ‘Anne Greenaway’: Irregular yellow-green variegated leaves, silver-colored median stripe
  • Lamium maculatum ‘Aureum’ (also known as ‘Golden Nutggets’): pale yellow leaves with a silver median stripe, delicate pink flowers, do not tolerate the sun
  • Lamium maculatum ’Cannon’s Gold’: compact growth, yellow foliage, dusky pink to violet flowers
  • Lamium maculatum ‘Pink Pewter’: pink flowers, green and white foliage, proven ground cover variety for sunny locations
  • Lamium maculatum ‘Roseum’: foliage with silvery-white median stripes, pink flowers
  • Lamium maculatum ‘White Nancy’: white flowers, white-green foliage
  • Lamium maculatum ‘Wooton Pink’: compact growth, large soft pink flowers, silvery-white leaves with a green edge

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