Caring for Deadnettle

The care information provided in this section represents the kind of practical advice is available for all the plants in this web site if you subscribe to the monthly customized newsletter Yardener’s Advisor.

Spotted deadnettle prefers moist soil, so during times when rainfall is scarce it appreciates supplemental water from the sprinkler or drip system. Because it usually is located in the shade, and when developed into mature plantings it covers and shades the soil, it does not lose water to evaporation as readily as plants in sunny areas and will withstand some drought. For information on products see the file on Choosing Watering Equipment

In the spring sprinkle a handful of fertilizer on the soil around the clumps of deadnettle for the rain to soak in. Do not allow the fertilizer to touch the stems or foliage. A mid season spray of a dilute liquid fertilizer on all the foliage, while not essential, gives this plant a boost. Take care not to overfeed deadnettle because that may encourage excessive growth and invite disease problems. For more information see the file for Fertilizer Products

As a rule groundcovers benefit from mulch only when they are first planted and before they have spread to cover the soil themselves. A thin layer of chopped leaves, wood chips, shredded bark or some other organic material around new young plants helps get them off to a good start. This mulch discourages weeds, helps keep the soil moist and conditions the soil as it decomposes over the season. For more information see the file on Using Mulch

Although there is no need to routinely prune spotted deadnettle, it does benefit from some grooming over the season. Shear or trim back flower stems after bloom time to encourage compactness. If the trailing stems begin to get rangy causing and the centers of the clump become thin, trim back the leggy stems. For more information see the file Choosing Pruning Tools

As the spotted deadnettle plants become established and develop into thick spreading clumps, they eventually need to be curbed. To control the clumps and acquire additional plants for use elsewhere on the property, divide them, in either the spring or fall dig up sections of a clump to expose the roots and gently pull apart small sections from the main mass. Take care not to disturb or tear the roots more than is absolutely necessary. Be sure that each separated section of stem has well-developed roots on it. Replant the original plant in place and plant the smaller rooted sections in new locations where groundcover is desired.

Winter Protection
In areas where winters are cold, spotted deadnettle is likely to lose its foliage and die back until spring. Sometimes, though, it is evergreen in marginally cold areas. Then its sheltered location in light shade or a light covering of snow may be sufficient to reduce winter injury to persisting leaves. A light covering of evergreen boughs will also offer protection. See the files on Winter Protection For Plants and Plant Protection Supplies

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