Stinging Nettle


  • Full Sun to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soils
  • Wiry green stems may bear stinging hairs
  • 3-9′ height, 1-3′ spread
  • Naturalized in the Southeast from Western North America


Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica, is a perennial herb naturalized nearly worldwide, and native to Western North America. It occurs in moist sites along streams, meadows and ditches, in woodland clearings, and in disturbed areas. Stinging nettle generally thrives in deep, rich, moist soils and doesn’t tolerate drought. Plant in confined areas as reproduction through rhizomes and seeds can form dense colonies, thus classifying it as a noxious weed in some areas.

It serves as a host plant for a variety of butterflies and moths including: Painted Lady, Eastern Comma, Mourning Cloak, and Question Mark.

Grown and proliferated due to its medicinal properties, the rootstock is used as a diuretic and an herbal treatment for prostate enlargement. Tea made from leaves treats hay fever, diabetes, gout, and arthritis, and fresh stinging leaves are sometimes applied to arthritic joints to stimulate blood flow. Topical creams have also been developed for joint pain and various skin conditions, including eczema and dandruff.


Photo: NorthCreek Nurseries

Additional information