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Stinging nettles in a pot

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to create a wildlife friendly garden and have read that stinging nettles are important food for some species of butterfly. If I was to grow some in a pot would this stop them from spreading elsewhere, or are they able to self seed all around the garden?

Thanks for your help,

Lucid image



  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 17,043

    Hi Lucid, pretty sure nettles self seed.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    They certainly do seed but not if you cut the flowers off. The caterpillars like the new young growth that follows a cut back.image


  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,239

    They only do if you let the flower heads ripen.image

    The main thing is that nettles like moisture so you would have to keep the pot quite wet.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • OnopordumOnopordum Posts: 390

    Nettles are very common, and nettle-feeding butterflies are quite selective about where they lay - you're unlikely to attract any with a few nettles in a pot. You'd be better growing more flowers instead.

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,143

    I agree with the above, I have loads of nettles everywhere here, never seen a butterfly on them, I think they use the road hedges and field margins, grow some nice bee and butterfly friendly plants, looks much nicer.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,239



    I suppose it depends on how tidy a garden you want to have.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 21,143

    You wont find one more untidy than mine, I can never keep on top it, more wildlife areas than tidy bits! image


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,293

    Lyn, your garden sounds like mine! Always running round trying to catch up, never seem to have the time or energy to do things when they should be done. It still manages to look lovely and some weeds are so pretty that if you don't tell people they won't know! Nettles not in that category though and they are spiteful things. I do keep them away from where I walk most and have nettle persecution days when I'm in the mood. Still more than enough in our 'wilderness' and the sheep fields for the butterflies!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,869

    Mine too Lyn.

    tbh I don't think I'd bother with nettles in pots. If there are no nettles in the area the butterflies won't come from miles away to use yours. and if there are nettles in the area, they'll do the job.image

  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,214

    I think maybe butterflies go for large areas of nettles. I have quite a sizeable nettle patch in one corner of the garden and usually get plenty of caterpillars there. I also have odd nettles that manage to grow in other places when my back is turned but they don't ever seem to have caterpillars.

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