Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: European Nettle, Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle
Urtica dioica

Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Urtica (UR-ti-kuh) (Info)
Species: dioica (dy-oh-EE-kuh) (Info)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

31 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 25 photos.
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4 positives
4 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Shirrush On Nov 13, 2012, Shirrush from Ramat Gan
Israel wrote:

I've just sown a few of the tiny seeds I bought in France (, and there is a satisfactory emergence rate from day 8 at ~20-25 degrees Celsius. As soon as the plants are strong enough, they will be transferred to our Community Garden. Appropriate containment will hopefully be achieved by growing this species in a 55 Ga. drum and by nipping any flowers as they appear. Since the local perennial Nettle, U. kioviensis, is a red-list, endangered-throughout-its-range species and no propagation material could be obtained, we reluctantly settled for the introduction of this foreign plant in order to comply with the Community Garden's "stealth" vegetables policy. What I'd really like to know is whether anybody has experience with growing Nettle in a subtropical climate. We have drip irrigation and a generous supply of compost, but I am concerned about the chances of survival of Urtica dioica during our very long (May to October) and relentlessly hot (around 30 Celsius, 60-80% RH) Summer.

Negative TLeaves On Aug 22, 2011, TLeaves from Ramona, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Very invasive in southern california. Primarily found in the streambeds in my area. Creates whelps when touched, along with the stinging.

Negative kasidi On Aug 22, 2011, kasidi from Constable, NY wrote:

I would not, for ANY reason, introduce this plant into a garden! It spreads uncontrollably, choking out other plants quickly, and it is impossible to get rid of! In previous comments, the stinging is described as a 'burning'- let me tell you-the stinging is terrible, especially for children. It will come up EVERYWHERE, meaning, no more playing in the summer grass barefoot :( We have lived in Northern N.Y. for 8 years now, and have tried, to no avail, to be rid of this cannot pull it, you have to dig it up, making sure to get every tiny root, or it will sprout twice as many plants than what you started with. Spraying it with weed killer is a small help, but, it seems the root system is able to block the poison from traveling to all of the plant...there are so many other plants that can offer the same benefits of this plant- do yourself a favor, and leave this plant out of your garden. A natural remedy to this plants' sting is the Plantain leaf, rolled briskly in your hands until it's juicy, and rub the juice on the welts. You can usually find the two plants growing in the same areas.

Positive snowpeach On Aug 14, 2008, snowpeach from Vancouver
Canada wrote:

Hi I am from Canada and it grows here too but I consider it a wonderful herb--dried and made into a tea it is super for arthritic like or inflammatory pain..steamed lightly it loses all its sting and it a tastey green..Nature has provided some useful things if we can find their value--mind you I have never heard of any good use for mosquitoes unless you count Yukon's famous mosquitoe soup...mmmmm free protein!!

Positive barj On Mar 27, 2007, barj from Elm Mott, TX wrote:

I just returned from Kansas, where I harveted and ate some sting nettle. My grandparents taught me to eat this as a child, and I would love to find some in the Waco, Texas area.Please let me know if you know where I can find some... thanks..

Neutral buteo On Jul 20, 2006, buteo from Winnipeg, MB (Zone 3b) wrote:

Does anyone know the effective life of fermented nettle water? One season? Two? Five? More?

(By 'effective' I refer to nettle water's demonstrated stimulating effects on root and shoot biomass and length and its apparent value for plants by its ability to induce in plants systemically acquired resistance (SAR) to pests and diseases.)

Apart from the obvious admonishment that the more freshly prepared, the better, has anyone any documentation that nettle water prepared in one year may be of use the next? Or the next?

Or is nettle water of zero value in any other than the season in which it is prepared?

What are the effects of storage (say, in a cool, dark site) on nettle water over time?

Has anyone done any pot trials on this?

Vere Scott
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Neutral verescott On Jun 2, 2004, verescott from Winnipeg
Canada wrote:

Nettle water: its proper use as a growth stimulant & fertilizer
by Vere Scott, 18 and 19 July 2002 (From BDNow List Archives)

Nettle water:
1) how frequently ought it to be used?
2) when (on what occasions?)
3) in what quantity?
4) Can it be over-used? If so what are the limits?
5) Is there a lot of room for latitude in its proper use? Is it very "forgiving" of overapplication?

I have three raised-bed gardens, each 4'x8', in my back yard. I've been using the nettle water as a foliar and soil spray once or twice a week, perhaps less. I've used an RL Flo-Master Home & Garden Sprayer (hand-pump, Model 1998): 1.18 L capacity. Each time, I apply, in a fine spray, 1.18 L nettle water to each of the three raised-beds.

(Incidentally, I've found this particular sprayer is not very durable. After very little use the seal on one of two I purchased quickly wore out so it could no longer maintain pressure. The manufacturer's suggested occasional application of petroleum jelly to the plunger cup did absolutely nothing to maintain the pressure seal.)

I made the nettle water with 1 kg freshly cut Urtica in 10 L of rain water; steeped at outdoor temperature (~12-30 degrees Celsius) for two weeks stirring every second day. I use it diluted 1 part nettle water to 10 parts water. Had it not been for Peterson & Jensen's studies (see below) nettle water's properties would have been dismissed as one more concoction from the "muck & magic" school of Rudolf Steiner's BioDynamic Agriculture (which are its origins).

My garden looks very healthy but I've seen nothing to attribute to the nettle water, positive or negative. But I now know what Steiner meant when he referred to the importance of involving oneself in one's crop growing rather than buying commodities off the shelf. I got the nettles free by the Red River banks near my home. I've been able to pot-up some stinging nettles and get them growing in my yard.

I was impressed and intrigued by Rolf Peterson and Paul Jensen's (University of Lund, Sweden) "Effects of nettle water on growth and mineral nutrition of plants", parts I and II in Biological Agriculture & Horticulture 1985, 1986. Does anyone
know if there has been any follow-up on their work? Paul Jensen told me that he knows of no other studies on nettle water than those that he and Rolf Peterson did.

Does anyone know if other fermentations (e.g. horseradish, burdock), like nettle water, have growth stimulating and fertilizing properties?

Positive gonedutch On Apr 1, 2003, gonedutch from Fairport, NY wrote:

In my native Netherlands some cheese makers add the leaves to their hard cheeses. I have tasted it and it imparts no particular flavor but it adds interest to its appearance and, by all accounts, it is healthy!

Perhaps someone will think of adding Kudzu Vine to a food staple to erradicate it :-)

Positive snailfarm On Oct 19, 2002, snailfarm from Victoria/Australia
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

I agree with Baa,it's a good "baddie".In my native Sweden it was tradition to look for the new little shoots in very early spring,or rather late winter.(We used to brush the snow away to find them.) Makes a very vitamin C and iron- rich soup.I spice it up with a bit of chives,Yummmmm.My mother told me to pluck the nettle from the 'underside upwards'.That way they don't sting. Of course it's a horrible weed,just wanted to add a positive note.:-) Lisa

Negative joelfinkle On Jun 19, 2002, joelfinkle wrote:

This plant is extremely difficult to eradicate. Seeds are tiny and spread easily, if allowed to mature. Tiny fragments of roots will sprout even after a harsh winter.

When removing this, use leather or rubber gloves. Dig to ensure complete removal of all runner roots, which will spread the plant rapidly.

Young shoots are easily mistaken for other plants such as raspberry, Queen of the Prairie and other desirables. Watch for the alternating leaf pattern with sawtoothed edges and hairy undersides and stems.

Neutral Baa On Sep 9, 2001, Baa wrote:

Before you shout ... yes it's considered a weed! It also has uses in the wild life garden, as a liquid feed and as a herb.

The most likely time you will notice this plant is when you get a burning sensation on bare skin, small red bumps on said skin will follow and itch quite badly for some time. Nettles are not pretty and it tends to run amok on nitrogen rich soil.

Its a coarse perennial from most of the Northern Hemisphere. The whole plant is covered with tiny stinging hairs and has ovate pointed and toothed mid green leaves. Its tiny green flowers hang in tassels in June to August, male and female flowers are found on separate plants.

It has been used for a wide variety of things over the ages and (it is said) was blessed by St Patrick for it's services to man and beast. Right up until WW1 it was used to make army clothes and makes a good substitute for flax. It even makes a fine woven cloth which is very durable. It was used for making ropes, twine, sailcloth and sacking. In France it was made into paper.

Nettle is also a dye plant, it colors wool grey green and silk a soft cream colour.

Nettle soup is perhaps its most famous culinary use, but the young tips were also used in a porriage, pudding and in pottages. Some cheeses have been and still are wrapped in nettle leaves (Cornish Yarg cheese is the best known)and were once used to ripen fruit such as plums.

Nettle beer was taken as a remedy for rheumatic, sciatic, cough medicine, stomach worms and gout pains or just as a drink. Young nettle leaves can also be used as a hair conditioner.

Now nettles are more likely to be used as a companion plant as they can help other plants become more resistant to disease and increase the essential oils in neighbouring plants. They make a good liquid fertilizer especially when mixed in with Comfrey. They are also an essential food plant for some butterfly species.

An old remedy for nettle stings is a large dock (Rumex) leaf rubbed on the stung area, they almost always grow together.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Fayetteville, Arkansas
Amesti, California
Fortuna, California
Ramona, California
Gainesville, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Cumberland, Maryland
Walled Lake, Michigan
Willis, Michigan
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cole Camp, Missouri
Nashua, New Hampshire
Constable, New York
Deposit, New York
Willsboro, New York
Belfield, North Dakota
South Point, Ohio
Blodgett, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Crossville, Tennessee
Viola, Tennessee
Sheboygan, Wisconsin

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