Lamium maculatum (Spotted nettle)

Lamium maculatum for understory

Surely you have understory areas in your garden that are left barren for whatever reason. These spots on the ground where there is no vegetation or anything to decorate can spoil the harmony with the rest of the space. To do this, today we have a perfect plant to cover the barren areas of the understory. Its about Lamium maculatum. Common names include spotted nettle, fetid nettle, chuchameles, or dead nettle. Although it is not a plant that has incalculable beauty, we can get a green mantle or tapestry that covers the empty areas and will create a certain luminosity.

In this article we are going to tell you what are the characteristics of the Lamium maculatum and how you should take care of them.

Key features

Lamium maculatum

It has green leaves with a small white spot in the center. What makes this plant characteristic is that it has a typical flower of the labiate family, as is the case with mint. The flower is shaped like a snapdragon. The flowers are quite attractive to many types of insects such as bumblebees and bees.. This will greatly help the rest of the plants in the garden to pollinate more easily by having more insects in the garden. Flowering takes place in the second half of summer.

In general, it is a fairly vigorous plant and is used to cover the barren areas of the understory because it has a great capacity for colonization. This capacity is due to the fact that the stems, as they grow and develop, they produce a kind of aerial roots that, when they touch the ground, thrive and they give again another plant that is spreading through the undergrowth. It is ideal if you have less covered areas or the grass has ended up rotting in various areas of the undergrowth.

There are other varieties of Lamiun that have whitish leaves that provide great luminosity. Its about Lamium maculatum "Beacon silver". This variety has practically white leaves, although the flowers are smaller. It has an intense fuchsia color, but being smaller, they attract less attention. In this variety, aerial roots do not form on the stems when they develop, so they are not so fast for the expansion and colonization of the barren areas of the understory. Although you may like the end result more when you see all the leaves almost white.

Caring for the Lamium maculatum

Spotted nettle flower

We have mentioned that this plant is used mainly to cover the barren areas of the understory. Although this is their main use, there are people who prefer to have them in a pot. You can have it perfectly although it must be taken into account that you will need more regular waterings and that we will not be able to take advantage of the fact that it develops aerial roots when the stem is growing. Have at Lamium maculatum in a pot it would be like completely limiting its growth and development.

As you will surely have the spotted nettle in the undergrowth, you should know that it grows well both in semi-shade, as shade and in full sun. It can survive well in full sun, as long as the climate of the area where you live does not allow for very hot summers. It is better that they are cooler temperatures so that you do not end up damaging them. However, if it is placed in the undergrowth, it will have its share of shade that will protect it comfortably. It resists the cold quite well and, although it can lose leaves in the colder seasons, it is able to withstand frosts and re-sprout fallen leaves when spring arrives.

As for the soil, it is not too demanding on it. It can live in limestone or acid soils, as long as they have good drainage and enough organic matter to retain some moisture.. This is an important thing to keep in mind. The undergrowth area is more suitable to have some humidity thanks to the fact that there is more shade. However, we cannot let the irrigation water end up puddling the area, especially if it is limestone or acid soils. They would end up destroying the spotted nettle.

If we first want to plant it in a pot and then move it to its final place, you should know that you can do it at any time of the year (it does not need any special time for transplantation) and place it about 40 cm apart between specimens. This space is saved so that they have enough space to expand both in the roots of the subsoil and the aerial ones that will later grow.

Irrigation must be regular, but without flooding the areas. Even if the soil has good drainage, it is enough to water a little so that the soil and the plant can retain some more moisture. The indicator for re-watering is for the surface of the soil to be completely dry. It is then when we know that we have to water again because the humidity in the environment is no longer enough to keep it healthy. Obviously, the winter months and if the climate has more rainfall, the waterings will be less frequent.

Maintenance of Lamium maculatum

Understory area

It is convenient to fertilize with an organic fertilizer when the winter has finished. This is done so that you can regrow those leaves that you lost during the winter frosts and get ready for flowering. To have a better flowering, it is advisable to use a supply of mineral fertilizer in mid-spring. Taking into account that it blooms in the second part of summer, it will have enough time to nourish itself and be healthier.

It does not need proper pruning. More than that, it is only necessary to remove the flowers that are becoming wilted so that the plant develops well and we have a better aesthetic. Horizontal growth must be controlled as it can become an invasive garden plant. Due to its ease of expansion, it can end up colonizing other areas outside, even the understory.

It is not a plant that is affected by typical garden pests and diseases. They are only plants that fear drought, so we must water as mentioned above. They can be multiplied by division of the plant at any time of the year.

I hope that with this information you can take advantage of the uses of the Lamium maculatum.

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