An Unusual Groundcover
Lamium, or dead nettle, is a sensational groundcover. It’s adapted to wide areas of Texas, although it seems to do best when it’s grown in a good bit of shade. It’s tolerant of soil types, but a well-prepared garden soil will get it off to the best possible start.
If anything, dead nettle (How this plant needs a better common name!) has only one fault. It’s almost too good. It’s almost invasive, spreading freely up and over other groundcovers, low shrubs and even turfgrass. On the other hand, it’s easily maintained with a line trimmer. And, in the meantime, you have a handsome, variegated groundcover that will seldom, if ever, have any type of pest problem.
Nurseries offer dead nettle plants in 4-inch and 1-gallon pots. Plant them into a well-prepared garden bed on 18-inch centers. Keep them well watered until they establish. They’ll take care of the rest.
The Sperry Success Story
I really can’t take much credit for my dead nettle’s success. I planted a 1-gallon pot in an unimportant part of my landscape 20 years ago. Now, that one plant has grown and spread to cover probably 1,000 square feet. It’s now a featured part of our landscape along the walk to my workshop ("Santa barn"). I’ve used the original bed as propagation material to get a second large bed up and growing.