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Dead Nettles

Spotted Dead Nettle, Lamium maculatum 'Chequers' (Patrick Standish, Flickr).

Some common names of flowering plants are quite ugly. One example is spotted dead nettle-the common name for the low-growing and very useful plant with the botanical name of Lamium.

These plants have white/silver stripes on their green leaves and are good creepers that spread neatly in zones 3 to 8. I especially like the deep purple flowers of ‘Chequers' that thrives in dry shade and blooms in the spring.

Two other varieties are pretty pinks. One is ‘Pink Pewter' and the other is ‘Shell Pink.'

All dead nettle varieties look pretty growing together either in pairs or massed in a bed in part to full shade.

I frequently move divisions of ‘White Nancy' around in my yard, as the soft white clusters of small hooded flowers and the silvery leaves make this 6-inch high creeper a winner in any combination or group.

Pulmonaria, which also has an unfortunate common name lungwort, is a good partner for dead nettles, as lungwort also grows well in shade and has silver marks on its leaves. It has spring flowers in shades of blue, pink, and raspberry colors that match the palette of the spotted dead nettles.

Plants with common names that are not so pretty should not deter us from using them in our gardens.

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