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Attractive stinging nettles?


I dont mind mind stinging nettles and I used to have some huge clumps of them until my husband started grooming "his" lawn and repeatedly took the strimmer to them.

I was wondering if there was an attractive way to include them within a flower bed scheme without them taking over and killing everything else off?

Is there anything pretty that can compete or happily co-exist?




  • Outdoor girlOutdoor girl Posts: 286

    What about the red or white dead nettle? I don't think they are stingers though.

  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,961
    I think they really need their own spot, they'll spread and take over in your borders. Even die hard wildlife gardeners tend to relegate them to behind the compost bin!

    Nettle lookalikes like the dead nettles are a better bet. There are plenty of nettle like plants that are well behaved. Agastache looks nettle like to me. And there's the nettle leaved bellflower!
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    I grow them in a corner in a pot like mint, it restricts their root run.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,281

    Some of the ones in the sheep field have a pretty purple tinge and look quite handsome, but I still keep them well away from anywhere we need to walk. I suspect meadow vetchling might make a good partner - it seems to enjoy climbing up any vertical stalk and the yellow pea flowers are very cheery.

  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    I think you are better off putting them in a corner with other strong growing wildlings that can compete on an even footing...

    Dead nettles are NOT a substitute for stinging nettles, not even in the same family (stinging nettles: urticaceae, dead nettles: lamiaceae, like mint). Dead nettles are very pretty garden plants but the DO NOT share the same medicinal, domestic and culinary qualities, and although they play a role in attracting wildlife (mostly pollinators), that role is quite different from stinging nettles (which are among things a very specific host for some butterflies).

    Bon, I'm done lecturing, and off to do the laundry image

  • CeresCeres Posts: 2,149

    I have nettles growing up against an ivy covered fence and its often joined by feverfew which matches it for size. The dead nettles are no substitute being much more sprawly, and they prefer the hedge bottom. Always have a dock plant somewhere for emergencies.

  • Ann PepperAnn Pepper Posts: 14

    I have a clump of nettles I allow to seed at the side of a shed, and a small clump under the buddliah as butterflies lay their eggs on them then have a food source. Pulling them up roots and all before they seed is a reasonable compromise.

  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    A small patch of nettles probably won't do much for butterflies. From Wildlife Gardening Forum  "It is important to recognise that the quantity of a certain plant species can be vital for the wildlife that uses it; just because a herbivore eats plant ‘x’, it doesn’t mean that one or two plants will suffice! A simple analogy is knowing that a cow needs grass and then trying to raise one on your front lawn – clearly it won’t survive for long!

     The importance of plant quantity was demonstrated in the Biodiversity in Urban Gardens in Sheffield (BUGS) project which showed that four big tubs of nettles per garden was not enough to encourage egg laying from those butterfly species whose caterpillars eat nettles. There is still much to be discovered about what area or volume of foodplant various garden herbivores require, but it is probably worth planting in blocks wherever possible. Where plants like nettles are so abundant in untended urban areas anyway, you may think it unnecessary to put down large areas of your garden to these usually unwelcome and rapidly spreading plants."      But if you truly like nettles....

  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    Well they are also excedingly good to eat in spring, and have all kind of medicinal properties. I let them grow as they will at the forest edge and at the borders of the horses' pasture, but I admit they are an awkward customer in the garden, unless the garden is very big.

  • Katherine WKatherine W Posts: 410

    Also make a a-ok hair rinse image

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