October 30, 2010

Plant of the month: Lamium

My goal with this blog is to highlight one or two plants per month, and to add at least one blog entry per week.

I’m starting with a plant I can’t kill. Not that I’m trying or anything. It’s just that Lamium (L. maculatum and L. album), or dead nettle, is such an easy-care ground cover and it seems to thrive nine months out of the year. I’m not even sure it goes dormant during the winter. I’ve seen it growing under the snow. And right now, at the end of October here in zone 5, the Lamium is still green and growing while other plants have definitely started their winter naps.

Lamium can be invasive, but it’s one of those ground covers that is pretty easy to control with just a little effort. You might have to uproot it when it starts to spread a bit, but it lifts easily from the soil.

Lamium is an excellent ground cover for an area of transition from sun to shade. In my garden, it’s growing in a spot that’s hard to mow—along the sides of a path from my patio out to the larger part of the yard.

The genus Lamium contains approximately 50 species, according to the Chicago Botanic Garden. I have two or three growing in my garden; they make a nice tapestry with their variegated leaves and purple, pink, and white flowers. They tend to bloom from early spring to first frost.

In the fall, I leave a light blanket of Oak leaves as winter mulch for the Lamium. In springtime, it’s one of the first plants to bloom after snowmelt. I simply rake off the leaves and marvel at the colorful show.

1 comment:

  1. I hope mine comes back cause it so peaceful and delicate.

    I wish you were here to help me get the magazine in order.