California Hedgenettle

Stachys bullata

California Hedgenettle

Stachys bullata

Stachys bullata is a native perennial herb in the mint family. Despite its common name, it does not sting like true nettles. Instead, it offers a delicate, attractive flower nearly one to two inches long, pink to lavender in color, on an upright stem. When bruised its minty/soapy fragrance is always a surprise. It blooms from spring into early summer and is beneficial in pollinator gardens.

It tends to grow in riparian corridors, seeps, and along creeks in the wild. Hedgenettle requires little attention in flowerbeds that get some water, gently spreading and filling in spaces around other plants. During drought, it will survive by taking on a more diminutive form and not expanding its footprint. Sometimes it will die back early rather than struggle, returning after the first heavy rains.

This native attracts butterflies and hummingbirds for nectar; Checkerspot larvae use the foliage for food. Mix with Heuchera micrantha, Solomon’s Seal, Western Sword Fern, Redwood Sorrel, and Yerba Buena to add interest to your garden.

California Hedgenettle
Tom Hilton, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Native Plant

Plant Category   perennial, ephemeral
Flowering Time   Spring, summer, fall
Fruiting Time   Summer
Planting Time   Late spring, early summer
Where to Plant   Stream banks, pond margins, springs, bogs, seeps and drainage ditches
Soil and Light   Tolerates a variety of soils, full shade, part shade
Companion Plants   Willow, Cottonwood, Sycamore, Monkey Flower, Sage Brush, Stream Orchid
Wildlife   Birds, moths, insects