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

Updated: March 24, 2021

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

Cultural lawn care practices

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

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. Weeds with tap roots like dandelions or have a basal rosette (leaves clustered close to the ground) like plantain are easier to pull than weeds such as Bermudagrass (wiregrass) or creeping Charlie (ground ivy) that spread with stolons or creeping stems that root along the ground.

Chemical treatment in lawns 

  • Herbicides should be used as a last resort because of the potential risks to people, animals, and the environment. Be aware of these lawn herbicide precautions first. 
    If you chose 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.

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