Dead Nettle sounds like it should be the name of a rock band, and actually it is. But what we’re talking about here is an adaptable group of shade plants known botanically as the genus Lamium and commonly as Dead Nettle. In this case, “dead” means no prickly hairs and no owies like you would experience touching the similar looking Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica). Tolerating heat, cold and variations in soil moisture are other benefits of Lamiums. They are also well-known for thriving on the edge of shade gardens where sun exposure shifts at different times of day and season. However, these are plants that love full shade and the dappled sunlight of partial shade.
The genus is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae), so its species are fine companion plants for shade Salvias. Lamiums are native to parts of Asia, Europe and North Africa. Most kinds grown commercially are varieties of Lamium maculatum, which spreads easily by stolons (runners) to form dense, short groundcover. It is sometimes referred to as Spotted Dead Nettle due to its attractively variegated foliage – ranging from lacy looks to silvery stripes and splashes of glowing color. These long blooming perennials generally attract bees but not deer.