Lamium orvala

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Robert Pavlis

Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis
Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis

Mention lamium to most gardeners and they run for the hills. Some lamium spread so fast they are thugs in the garden. Others, like L. maculatum, spread but can be controlled. A few are excellent, well behaved, garden plants and this includes Lamium orvala, which forms a nice non-spreading clump. It might seed around a bit, but it is easily pulled out if you get too many.

Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis
Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis

Lamium orvala, also called giant deadnettle, balm-leaved red deadnettle and balm-leaved archangel, is a nice woodland plant. It flowers in late spring and forms a showy clump with coarsely textured, medium green leaves.  It is considered to be drought tolerant, but it does better with moisture in the soil. It is slow to establish, give it a couple of years to shine in the garden.

This plant is deer proof and is not bothered by insect pests or diseases. Rabbits may chew on it in early spring. An ‘alba’ form has nice clean white flowers and ‘Silva’ has silver blotches on the leaves.

Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis
Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis

For more information on how various lamium perform in the garden see the Chicago Botanical Garden study.

Lamium orvala

(LAY-mee-um  or-VAH-luh)

Life Cycle: perennial

Height: 60 cm (2 ft)

Bloom Time: late spring

Natural Range: Eastern Europe (Austria, Italy, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova)

Habitat: wooded areas

Synonyms: Lamium grandiflorum, Lamium garganica, Lamium pannonicum, Lamium lamioides

Cultivation of Lamium orvala

Light: part sun to full shade

Soil: moist, well drained

Water: somewhat drought tolerant

USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8

Propagation: seed, division, cuttings

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Robert Pavlis

I have been gardening my whole life and have a science background. Besides writing and speaking about gardening, I own and operate a 6 acre private garden called Aspen Grove Gardens which now has over 3,000 perennials, grasses, shrubs and trees. Yes--I am a plantaholic!

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