I looked for years for a decorative groundcover for under a very large crab apple in the front yard, near the road. We are in Zone 5a and road salt is an issue. I settled on Lamium and planted about 600 'Chequers' as small plants about 12" apart in well cultivated soil about 6 or 7 years ago. They have not disappointed. There is a profusion of flowers in mid-Spring and they continue to bloom until after frost in the fall. The edge is maintained by the mower. They seem to prefer full sun on the south and west sides, but do well in the shade of the apple as well. They have also self-seeded under the fir tree, in the tulips, the perrenial garden more than 50 feet away, and even in the cracks between bluestones on the steps. Friends and relatives have been the beneficiaries.
Dan, 600 plants! You are a hero. Lamium is a wonderful groundcover: the spring blooms are welcome when there may be little else blooming, and the foliage is attractive after that for those for whom it doesn't even re-bloom. A great plant all around, as you've stated.
Question about Lamium. What does it do in the winter in zones 5a/b? Does it die-back and then re-grow in the spring or stay evergreen? I'm hoping for erosion control on a hill and not sure it will provide that if it dies back.
Well, this is a reply well after the fact but I have Purple Dragon and two other types. As noted, they self seed at will though not invasively so far. I have some in shade to indirect light and some in full sunlight. Of course our 'full' sunlight is very cool compared to others. It does sort of die back a little and I trim it up with scissors if it gets to wandering too much. But it will continue to creep along and spread easily with good sturdy roots. I should think it would make a great plant for erosion control. One year I cut back the leaves and left the mass of runners and it seemed like it took forever to revive. The ones out front in full sun looked totally dead this spring but by mid summer it was going gang busters, thick and green with flowers galore. Oh, as is noted, I live in Alaska along the southern coast. Pretty much zone 4-5