Golden dead nettle (Lamium galeobdolon) is a perennial wildflower that is part of the mint (Lamiaceae) family. It readily spreads and forms a mat of foliage, and thus it is frequently used as an ornamental ground cover.
Ovate, toothed leaves form in pairs on the erect stems. The leaves are around 1 to 3 inches long, and they give off a minty fragrance when crushed. The main species plant has medium to dark green foliage while some cultivars bear more attractive variegated leaves, such as those streaked with a silvery gray. Plus, the leaf undersides can be purple. Some cultivars also can be evergreen or semi-evergreen in warm regions. The tube-shaped yellow flowers, which are less than an inch long, bloom in clusters on spikes during the mid- to late spring, depending on their climate.
Due to its fast growth rate and tolerance of a variety of growing conditions, golden dead nettle has been deemed invasive in some areas. So be sure to check your local regulations before planting. It is best planted in the spring.
|Botanical Name||Lamium galeobdolon|
|Common Names||Golden dead nettle, yellow deadnettle, weasel's snout, artillery plant, aluminium plant|
|Plant Type||Herbaceous, perennial|
|Mature Size||1–2 ft. tall and wide|
|Sun Exposure||Partial, shade|
|Soil Type||Sandy, loamy, clay, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral, alkaline|
|Flower Color||Yellow flecked with orange or brown|
|Hardiness Zones||4–9 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Europe, Asia|
Golden Dead Nettle Care
Golden dead nettle is indigenous to the shady woodlands of Europe and western Asia. Its interesting foliage can brighten up a shady area even when the plant is not in bloom. Thus, it is often used as a ground cover option for spots that don't get a lot of sun, though it might be too aggressive of a spreader for a formal garden bed. The plant typically does not have any serious issues with pests or diseases, and it is known to be deer-resistant.
If your golden dead nettle plant gets leggy, it can be cut back to around 4 to 6 inches high to promote a more compact form. Overgrown mature plants can be divided in either the fall or early spring. Besides keeping your golden dead nettle's spread in check, your main care task with this hardy and vigorous plant will be to water it while it's becoming established. After that, it largely will be able to take care of itself, though it might prefer some water during extremely hot and dry weather.
Golden dead nettle grows best in a location with partial shade. But it also will tolerate growing in full shade. Too much sun can burn the foliage.
This plant can grow in a variety of soil types as long as there is good drainage. It can tolerate shallow and rocky soil. And it can handle a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil pH. A well-drained loam that's been enriched with compost is best.
Golden dead nettle needs consistently moist but not soggy soil as it's becoming established. Mature plants like a dry to moderate moisture level, and they have a good tolerance for periods of drought.
Temperature and Humidity
This wildflower thrives in the temperature and humidity conditions throughout its growing zones, as long as it has sufficient shade, especially during hot weather.
Like many other members of the mint family, golden dead nettle plants generally require no supplemental fertilizer. If you have very lean soil, adding a layer of compost each spring can help to give your plants a boost.
Golden Dead Nettle Varieties
There are several varieties of golden dead nettle, including:
- Lamium galeobdolon 'Hermann's Pride': This is a relatively small cultivar that spreads to a width of only around a foot, making it the preferred golden dead nettle for a perennial planting bed.
- Lamium galeobdolon 'Variegata': This cultivar is known to be an aggressive spreader, and thus it is not suitable for a garden bed because it will spread too freely. Instead, it is preferred for use as a ground cover, particularly in a shade garden.
- Lamium galeobdolon 'Silver Frost': This cultivar also is an aggressive spreader, and it features silver flecks in its foliage, along with more heart-shaped leaves than the 'Hermann's Pride' cultivar.
- Lamium galeobdolon 'Jade Frost': This cultivar is similar to 'Silver Frost' in appearance, and it too will spread readily in a garden bed.
Propagating Golden Dead Nettle
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. So should you want to propagate golden dead nettle deliberately, a handful of stem cuttings tossed onto the soil and watered will often do the trick.