The Dead Nettles, Not Your Garden Variety Punk Band

Dead Nettle, or Lamium, are a group of ground covers that belong to the mint family. Lamiuim do well in shade or partial shade, as their lovely silver foliage catches the light even on gray, rainy days. photo

Flower colors range from pale pink through rich purple.photo

Lamium spread politely—at least here in the upper Midwest. In other regions of the country, it could well be a pest. I deadhead after flowering because it keeps the foliage fresh as the summer heat builds. Cut the plants back by a third if the heat really gets to them and they quickly spring back with fresh foliage.  photo                                                                                                Yellow Archangel is another type of lamium that has sharply- veined, narrow leaves and a more upright habit. The tightly clustered yellow flowers are a showy surprise in the shade garden.

Sometimes these plants don’t reveal their best side at the garden centers. I’ve certainly seen potted dead nettles living up to the name and looking completely unappealing. But if you’re looking for low maintenance shade plants, don’t pass up these quiet beauties. They’re worth a second look.

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