Deadnettle in flower (Lamium purpureum). Photo: Betty Marose

Updated: March 2, 2023

Life cycle

Winter annual noticeable in early spring when the light purple flowers are in bloom. Dies out in late spring.

Growth habit

Square stems. Leaves opposite, triangular, pointed, and overlapping and crowded near top of stem. Leaves often with purple coloring. Pinkish-purple lipped flowers borne at top of plant. Fibrous root system doesn't creep along the ground.


Produces seed in the spring; seed germinates in the early fall or early spring

deadnettle flower closeup
Closeup of deadnettle flowers. Photo: Betty Marose

Conditions that favor growth

Mowing the lawn too short.

Management in lawns

Maintain healthy, dense turf that can compete and prevent weed establishment.

Lawn Care

Mechanical management

Hand pulling or using an appropriate weeding tool are the primary means of mechanical weed control in lawns. This is a viable option at the beginning of an infestation and on young weeds. Hand pulling when the soil is moist makes the task easier.

Manage Weeds Without Chemicals

Chemical treatment in lawns 

If you choose this option, spot treat weeds with a liquid, selective, postemergent, broadleaf weed killer applied when weeds are actively growing. Look for a product with one or more of the following active ingredients: 2, 4-DMCPP (mecoprop), Dicamba*, or Triclopyr.

*Do not spray herbicides containing dicamba over the root zone of trees and shrubs. Roots can absorb the product possibly causing plant damage. Refer to the product label for precautions.

Lawn Herbicides for Weed Management

Additional resources

Purple deadnettle and henbit: Two common garden spring weeds | Michigan State University Extension

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