Pink Pewter

'Pink Pewter'
Dead Nettle

"Paradise is exactly like where you are
right now ... only much, much better."

-Laurie Anderson
b. 1947

One of the standard dead nettle cultivars often & widely available is the reliable Lamium maculatum 'Pink Pewter.' This variety was found among nursery stocks by John Metcalf, who selected it for cultivation, & introduced it from Four Seasons Nursery in Norwich, England.

I'd made a combination of a planter & planter stand out of a vintage child's school desk, removing the top of the desk to create a shallow planter. I sat two pots on the soil on the desk & a third on the attached wooden chair, & then filled the hollow of the desk with planting soil. I wanted something hardy & colorful for the shallow soil around the bottom of the tall pots, so planted two kinds of lamium, 'Pink Pewter' & 'Aureum.'

Pink PewterThe lamiums rapidly spread & covered every inch of the soil, just the effect I wanted, so that it looked like the two pots were sitting atop a bed of bright foliage.

The pewtered leaves are gorgeous with or without flowers, but 'Pink Pewter' in fact flowers & reflowers spring through early autumn, pale pastel pink blossoms in bright contrast to the heavily silvered leaves.

It's strongest flowering is in May & June, but will have a few hours earlier than that, & with occasional light shearing to remove spent blossoms, reflower reliably. The 'Aureum' by contrast is tepid for bloom, but contributes a great leaf-color contrast to the shallow planter.

Lamiums need persistent moisture or can die back in the heat of summer. If they do look poorly in summer, a good shearing & better watering schedule will bring them back in a no time, as die-back does not damage their spreading root system. 'Pink Pewter' is more than commonly sun-hardy & should look pretty decent even through record hot days of summer, just so long as the soil is kept moist.

If it misses getting watered enough, it'll dry out & die back quite quickly in droughty heat. It will make another showing in cooling autumn & for Puget Sound's mild winters last through most of the winter. In ideal conditions of loose rich moist soil in dappled sunlight or part shade, it attempts to be at least semi-evergreen, though it only partially succeeds.

In full shade it is less injured by somewhat droughtier conditions but will be thinner, whereas in bright shade with plenty of moisture it forms an eight-inch unbroken mat of gorgeous leaves with lots of fat blooms.

Some lamiums can be rather aggressive & don't share space with other small perennials in a friendly manner, but 'Pink Pewter' is hardy without being a menace.

Continue to:
Lamium purpureum 'Aureum'

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