Mention lamium to most gardeners and they run for the hills. Some lamium spread so fast they are thugs in the garden. Others, like L. maculatum, spread but can be controlled. A few are excellent, well behaved, garden plants and this includes Lamium orvala, which forms a nice non-spreading clump. It might seed around a bit, but it is easily pulled out if you get too many.
Lamium orvala, also called giant deadnettle, balm-leaved red deadnettle and balm-leaved archangel, is a nice woodland plant. It flowers in late spring and forms a showy clump with coarsely textured, medium green leaves. It is considered to be drought tolerant, but it does better with moisture in the soil. It is slow to establish, give it a couple of years to shine in the garden.
This plant is deer proof and is not bothered by insect pests or diseases. Rabbits may chew on it in early spring. An ‘alba’ form has nice clean white flowers and ‘Silva’ has silver blotches on the leaves.
For more information on how various lamium perform in the garden see the Chicago Botanical Garden study.
Life Cycle: perennial
Height: 60 cm (2 ft)
Bloom Time: late spring
Natural Range: Eastern Europe (Austria, Italy, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova)
Habitat: wooded areas
Synonyms: Lamium grandiflorum, Lamium garganica, Lamium pannonicum, Lamium lamioides
Cultivation of Lamium orvala
Light: part sun to full shade
Soil: moist, well drained
Water: somewhat drought tolerant
USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8
Propagation: seed, division, cuttings