- Common name: Purple deadnettle
- Scientific name: Lamium purpureum
- Grass or broadleaf: Winter annual broadleaf
- Native to Europe and Asia, and widespread across the United States
- Purple deadnettle develops in the fall and forms a small rosette of leaves that can overwinter. It can easily be identified by its broad, egg-shaped leaves that are often red- or purple-tinged. This weed dons blue-to-purple flowers, living up to its name.
- Completing its development in early spring, the plant forms flowers and then seeds. It dies in late spring to early summer, soon after seeding.
- The weed resembles the henbit, a close cousin. The square stems of purple deadnettle and henbit are common characteristics for members of the mint family.
- Commonly, this weed is present in areas where the soil has been disturbed, such as in fields, winter grain crops, gardens and orchards and along buildings.
- Without any competition, the weed can spread rapidly, producing 27,000 seeds per plant. Sources report purple deadnettle seed can be viable after 660 years.1
- Purple deadnettle belongs to the mint family.
- This weed thrives in nutrient-rich, sandy soils.
- It can reach heights up to 18 inches.2
- Although considered a weed, purple deadnettle is a food source to pollinators in early spring, providing pollen and nectar to several species of bees.
A fact that may surprise you …
- In olden days, this plant family was commonly referred to as “archangels,” which is believed to refer to the clusters of hooded flowers appearing like a “choir of robed figures,” according to the University of Tennessee.2
Purple deadnettle control/management tips
Herbicides can provide good to excellent control of existing purple deadnettle and henbit. Fall and early spring treatments generally are more effective than postemergence treatment.1
A popular burndown treatment, the combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D, along with other residual herbicides, can provide broad-spectrum control of weeds including purple deadnettle. Atrazine also can be effective. If you use paraquat, control of purple deadnettle may improve by adding metribuzin.3
Cool conditions may slow activity of some burndown herbicides. Contact herbicides may work more quickly in cool temperatures. Consider the weather forecast, and assume weed reaction to be slower in colder conditions.
Dow AgroSciences weed control solutions:
SureStart® II herbicide
Keystone® NXT herbicide
Keystone® LA NXT herbicide
FulTime® NXT herbicide
Surpass® NXT herbicide
Durango® DMA® herbicide
Enlist Duo® herbicide, as part of the Enlist™ weed control system