Urtica dioica (Common Nettle)

Scientific Name

Urtica dioica L.

Common Names

Nettle, Common Nettle, European Nettle, Giant Nettle, Stinging Nettle


Urtica dioica subsp. dioica, Urtica dioica var. dioica, Urtica galeopsifolia, Urtica tibetica

Scientific Classification

Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Urtica


Color: Green
Bloom Time: May to September


Urtica dioica is a dioecious herbaceous perennial with a straight stem that grows up to 5 feet (1.5 m) tall. Leaves are heart-shaped and up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. The leaves and stems are very hairy with non-stinging hairs. Flowers are greenish, sometimes tinged pinkish, inconspicuous, up to 0.08 inches (2 mm) long, with four tiny sepals and no petals. Individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is found on any plant, so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Urtica dioica - Nettle

How to Grow and Care

Nettles prefer rich soil with good moisture content and especially favors the edges of streams or nutrient-dense pastures.

Nettle seeds are tiny, light dependant germinators that can be started indoors or out. However, select your location carefully as Nettles are very hardy and can spread quickly with the right conditions. Nettle can be assisted with stratification, but it is not necessary.

To start, tamp the tiny seeds lightly into the soil or cover them with a thin layer of soil (0.25 inch/6 mm). If starting indoors, sow in flats in late winter and transplant in early spring. Space plants approximately 8 inches (20 cm) apart.

If direct sowing, seed in spring and thin as desired and plant rows 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. It is recommended to find a permanent spot with rich, moist conditions a little away from (or on the periphery of) your other herbs. See more at How to Grow and Care for Stinging Nettle.


Native to Europe, Asia, northern Africa, and North America.


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