European Nettle, Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle
Urtica dioica

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

Category:

Herbs

Perennials

Height:

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

Spacing:

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

Hardiness:

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

Danger:

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Green

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Foliage:

Herbaceous

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:

Non-patented

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

Regional

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

4
positives
4
neutrals
3
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

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

I've just sown a few of the tiny seeds I bought in France (natureetdecouvertes.com), 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 hav... read more

Negative

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

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 plant..you 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 th... read more

Positive

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

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

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... read more

Neutral

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.... read more

Positive

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

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

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

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 ... read more