The genus Lamium is comprised of several dozen species of annuals and perennials from Europe to Asia, including the Mediterranean and North Africa. Members of the mint family, these plants have the typical square stems, toothed leaves, and spreading habit. They are mostly grown for their foliage, which can be mottled, frosted, or attractively marked. The flowers are small and two-lipped, blooming from late spring to summer. Use as a ground cover among plants that can stand the competition, such as shrubs or vigorous perennials. Smaller species can be less invasive and are nice in a rock garden.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsAttractive foliage makes a good ground cover. Can be invasive in moist, fertile soils.
CareGrow the quick-growing ground covers in moist but well-drained soil in partial or full shade. Don't site near small plants that may be overtaken. Dig out rhizomes to keep in bounds. Some species need very well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade.
PropagationPlant seed in a cold frame in spring or fall, or divide plants in early spring or fall. Small species can be started from stem-tip cuttings in early summer.
ProblemsSlugs, snails, downy mildew, powdery mildew, and leaf spot are all common.