Yellow Archangel Plant Profile

An Archangel in Name, a Devil in Behavior

Yellow archangel plant with yellow flowers and bicolored leaves.
Hermann's Pride is a relatively well-behaved cultivar of yellow archangel. David Beaulieu

Yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) is a spreading flowering perennial related to the various species of the Lamium genus in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. In fact, yellow archangel was at one point assigned to the same genus as those species but has since been separated (Lamiastrum translates as "resembling lamium"). In the trade, this plant is often still known as Lamium galeobolon.

L. galeobdolon bears a similarity to the Lamium species, including dead nettle, but yellow archangel is a more upright plant with bright yellow flowers—the flower color and wing-shaped leaves are the source of the common name. Some cultivars may be evergreen or semi-evergreen in warm regions. Generally reaching about 1 to 2 feet in height, the horizontal spread of yellow archangel plants depends on the cultivar—though this is a somewhat moot point since the plant spreads so quickly by colonizing through runners.

The tube-shaped, yellow flowers bloom in mid-spring or in late spring, depending on where you live. These shade plants are grown just as much for their foliage, which gives off a minty fragrance when crushed. The species plant has plain green leaves, but the cultivars sold at garden centers bear more attractive variegated leaves.

Botanical Name Lamium galeobdolon or Lamiastrum galeobdolon
Common Names Yellow archangel, golden dead-nettle
Plant Type Herbaceous perennial
Mature Size 1 to 2 feet tall, similar spread
Sun Exposure Part shade to full shade
Soil Type Dry to medium moisture, well drained soil
Soil pH No preference
Bloom Time June
Flower Color Yellow, flecked with brown
Hardiness Zones 4 to 9 (USDA)
Native Area Europe, Western Asia

How to Grow Yellow Archangel Plants

Yellow archangel is indigenous to shady woodlands of Europe and western Asia and is suitable for USDA plant hardiness zones 4 to 8. Although a moderately drought-tolerant ground cover when mature and if grown in sufficient shade, young plants require evenly moist soil. Established plants can be hacked back when they become leggy to promote a more compact form. You can divide these perennials either in fall or in early spring.

Light

Yellow archangel prefers a part-shade to full-shade location.

Soil

Yellow archangel does best in well-drained loam enriched with compost. Once mature, it thrives in relatively dry but fertile soil.

Water

This plant likes consistent moisture as it is becoming established, but mature plants have a good tolerance for temporary drought and dry soil.

Temperature and Humidity

This plant thrives in the temperature and humidity conditions throughout its hardiness range (USDA zones 4 to 8), provided it has shade.

Fertilizer

Like other members of the mint family of plants, yellow archangel requires no feeding to prosper.

Propagating Yellow Archangel Plants

This plant reproduces so easily from stem cuttings that growers are advised to carefully dispose of all clippings to prevent the plant from naturalizing where it is not wanted. Stem pieces will root and spread wherever they touch the ground. Should you want to propagate it deliberately, a handful of clippings tossed onto the soil and watered in will often do the trick. Runners (stolons) extending out from the parent plant can also be clipped off and replanted.

Varieties of Yellow Archangel

'Hermann's Pride' is a relatively small cultivar that spreads to a width of only about 1 foot, making it the preferred yellow archangel for a perennial bed. Other cultivars are more aggressive spreaders and are not at all suitable for planting beds because they spread too freely, quickly forming a mat. These are preferred for use as ground covers, particularly in shade gardens. Examples of aggressive spreaders include 'Variegata', 'Silver Frost', and 'Jade Frost'. All three bear leaves that have silver flecks and that are more heart-shaped than those of 'Hermann's Pride'.

Common Pests/Diseases

Yellow archangel has almost no serious pest or disease issues. However, they are invasive plants in many areas. Planting it is highly discouraged in western Oregon and Washington, and in scattered other locations across the northern U.S. These plants aggressively root via runners (stolons). Therefore, before planting them on your property, it's best to check with a local extension office. Be prepared to cite the cultivar name, if any, of the plant that you are considering growing when you contact the extension agent.

Landscape Uses

Yellow archangel plants are valued for their tolerance for shady conditions. With their green and silver foliage, they can brighten up a shady area even when not in bloom. This plant is often used as a ground cover for open, wooded areas or as a cover for shady hillsides, but it is generally too aggressive for border gardens or formal gardens. These perennials are deer-resistant.

While you are waiting for yellow archangel to take over a patch of shady land as a ground cover, fill the spaces in between the new plants with red impatiens to create a colorful summertime display.