Stinging Nettles

bkpelfrey Posts: 23 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

Has anyone grew their own stinging nettle? Can you give me some growing tips?


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    @bkpelfrey There is another thread very similar to this one. Not sure how to attach a direct link to it. But it is under the Growing Food category. Just titled "Stinging Nettles" like your post. There are suggestions on growing your own.

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    @bkpelfrey have grown them but they just came up on their own :)

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,210 admin
    edited March 2020

    @bkpelfrey Here is a link to redirect to the existing thread about nettles. Don't let the preview scare you. Another plant was discussed in the thread as well.

  • drpclarke
    drpclarke Posts: 53 ✭✭✭

    I am going to try to plant stinging nettles this year as I have heard that it is a great permaculture plant.

  • lmrebert
    lmrebert Posts: 363 ✭✭✭✭

    @bkpelfrey the only thing I’ve noticed about nettle is it tends to grow under trees ... shady type of areas that get filtered light.. they grow pretty good coming up even through gravel etc... I would try putting under trees in well drained soil if that helps

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @bkpelfrey They can grow in part Shade to full Sun, and can tolerate growing in clay soil. I bought some a couple of years ago in the Winter. I heeled them in and before I had a chance to transplant them they had also started growing and spreading.

    I assume that you purchased baby plants, if so, put them in the ground, and let them do their thing.

  • Devi
    Devi Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    @bkpelfrey I planted stinging nettles last year in a shady part of my yard and they took off. By the end of the summer the patch was 3 times what I thought it would be. I think they just need shade and lots of water. I transplanted a few off shoots to another area, I hope it takes - will find out in a few months.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 1,937 ✭✭✭✭✭

    LaurieLovesLearning I don't see the link to the other discussion that you mentioned. I just got some nettle leaf from Mountain Rose and would love more information about it and it's uses.

  • Iris Weaver
    Iris Weaver Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    @bcabrobin Common stinging nettles, Urtica dioica, are not poisonous. They do have formic acid, the same acid found in ant bites, on the tips of their hairs. This is actually used medicinally for arthritis.

    Nettles are a great food and medicine, They can be fussy about where they grow. They want lots of nutrition (hence why they grew so well on roadsides when horses were fertilizing the waysides) and soil that is fairly friable (not compacted). Here in Massachusetts I have rarely found nettles growing wild. Seeds can be easily found, and I have also been able to transplant them from other gardens.

    This doesn't explain, however, how they appeared spontaneously in my compost heap! Did I dump some seed without knowing it? Shrug.

  • Iris Weaver
    Iris Weaver Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    Hi, @LaurieLovesLearning, you can make teas and infusions with nettle leaves using boiling water. You can also use the nettle leaves when making soup stock. And you can just add the leaves to soups and stews when you are cooking them, the leaves just sort of melt in and give added nutrition and goodness. You can also make a hair rinse with nettle leaves.

    Susun Weed's book Healing Wise has a great chapter that goes in-depth into uses for nettles.

  • norabelehcim
    norabelehcim Posts: 58 ✭✭✭

    I have used stinging nettles as a controlled border strip in a garden a few times. They thrived, and were useful for teas, etc, kept things green and protected some of my more fragile plants, but you do need to control their capacity to "spread."

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    For anyone looking for the other discussion, type Stinging Nettles into the search box at the top of the page. There will be several results come up but if you scroll down until you see this discussion: "discussion by dottile46 January 28", it will take you to the prior discussion on nettles. Good info in several of the posts on growing. If you are looking for info on uses, TGN has a post on the subject at:

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,210 admin
    edited March 2020

    @vickeym Somehow that link didn't work properly. I will try again. This should work better. Click "View post."

    @Iris Weaver the preview of the link that I posted unfortunately focused on the small bit of the discussion (that included bcabrobin) that was further discussing another plant, not the stinging nettle. The link did not post properly.

    I am aware of these uses and have done some myself. Our stinging nettle is native here. We have an overabundance!

    One other good use is as part of feed to increase cows milk!

    @torey Thanks!

  • r.lewmir
    r.lewmir Posts: 9 ✭✭✭

    Have a love/hate relationship with stinging nettle. Any exposed skin when walking through it sends me running for the hose to douse under cold water for relief from the itching. However, the stinging always helps the mild artherites in my fingers; making my fingers much more flexible for quite awhile afterwards.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 1,937 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I need to go find a good shot of them. We found a patch of something that might be stinging nettl;es but need to fins then for sure,

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    @vickeym Following is a link to the E-Flora BC web page for Stinging Nettle. If you click on the bar that says "View all photos for this taxon" right underneath the picture, it will take you to a page of pics; some of them are closeups of the leaf, the leaf nodes and the seeds and pics of the plant in different stages of growth. If you click on "View the full interactive map" it will take you to another page where you can scroll through the map to see your area. Then you can click on the dots and get precise locations (including GPS coordinates). Not all locations are indicated so it is probably a lot more common than indicated on the map..

    Following is the link to their main page where you can search by species, genera or families from drop down plant lists. Use the selection buttons underneath the Browse feature. Even though it is a BC based website, it is good for most of the Pacific Northwest including Alaska. One of the best geographic-based plant ID sites I have found. You can also become a photo submitter. There is a link to do that on this main page.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 1,937 ✭✭✭✭✭

    torey This is great will have to look up names of more of the plants I think I might have and see if they match.

  • herbantherapy
    herbantherapy Posts: 453 ✭✭✭✭

    Im planting out nettles under an old Rhododendron grove along a creek bank. No one walks around under there and there will be dappled sun and plenty of natural water/runoff. Wonder if they can withstand dry spells in the summer of if I will need to supplement water them, anyone know? The temps in that grove rarely go above 65 degrees in the hottest part of Summer.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin
    edited June 2020

    @herbantherapy Not sure what the soil is like under a Rhodo grove. In my area the best patches of nettles are found in very fertile, nitrogen rich soil such as old cow pastures or near watering holes. But the shade and water sound tight. I have seen nettles growing near watering holes that dry up in the summer but our dry spells are not usually as long as some areas. Being on a creek bank I would think that there would be enough moisture in the soil. So I would say it depends on how long your dry spells last or if the creek dries up in the summer.

  • AngelaOston
    AngelaOston Posts: 247 ✭✭✭

    they have stinging nettle seeds for sale Haven’t ordered from them yet But they seem reasonable And a great selection of unusual herbs

  • serenafox
    serenafox Posts: 1

    Nettles are one of my most favorite herbs. Here, in the Northeast, they grow wild, so must of us have no need to plant them unless we want them in a particular place. The tolerate some shade, but do love the sun. I harvest using rose-pruning gloves—the ones that go all the way up to one's elbows—and usually a long-sleeved shirt. Once dried or steamed, the stinging is no longer :). They are one of the most nutritious of green leafy herbs that grow wild around now—along with Lambs Quarter, Dandelion and so many more. When you steam, check the color of the ink they create and you'll KNOW they are a powerhouse. Once you've decided to plant them, they will most likely survive. If they love where they are, they will be full and luciously large-leaved. If they are stringy, they're not loving where they are. Avoid eating once they've gone to seed (can be hard on the kidneys). Enjoy!!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin
    edited June 2020

    Hello @serenafox Welcome to the forum. Great input on stinging nettles!

    Welcome @AngelaOston Thanks for posting about the seeds.

  • MelissaLynne
    MelissaLynne Posts: 205 ✭✭✭
    edited June 2020

    I would expect them to be fine, we get hot temps and very little rain in the summer and our volunteer patch sticks around until freeze. Wouldn’t mind if it wasn’t quite so hardy and prolific. Lol. Maybe water some if this is the first year and it gets really dry. Once established they should do well. If anything it might be more shady and moist than is ideal.

  • Nancy A.Maurelli
    Nancy A.Maurelli Posts: 44 ✭✭✭

    "Sister" Stinging Nettle has been my ally for over twenty years. I got my first plant from Southern VA Herbals in Halifax, VA after a class they taught in Bedford County, VA. I was last in line to get the free seedlings they gave away. At first I was disappointed that nettle was the only one left, but now I realize it was an amazing gift (as I never would have voluntarily chosen her).

    I have grown her in multiple types of environments, and she plants herself too. When SHE gets to decide, she almost always goes to an "edge" environment with good morning sun, good drainage, and fairly rich soil (old compost heaps, edge of wooded area with lots of mulch, etc.). The one I planted that is in heavy shade has survived, but not expanded. I intend to relocate her in the fall.

    Stinging nettle grows easily from seed. Collect the mature seeds from the plants in late summer when they are dry. You could scatter them immediately in the location where you would like her to grow the following season OR hold the seeds until late winter/early spring and start them indoors or in greenhouse. Transplant outside when they babies are a few inches high. Water and pamper a bit until established.

    You can also propagate by division of the root clumps in the fall or very early spring. I call these "pioneers," and have sent many out into the world as more and more folks realize how nutritious and beautiful a plant Stinging Nettle is.

    The main way I use Sister Nettle is by making herbal infusion using one ounce of dried herb per quart of boiling water. I make it in a quart size canning jar and cover it. Let it steep 6-10 hours, then strain and refrigerate the infusion. DRINK UP (or use it as a vegetable stock for soup, grain, sauces, etc)! I am now experimenting with fermenting the infusion as one would ferment black tea to make kombucha.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    Hi @Nancy A.Maurelli Welcome to TGN's forum. What a great first post! Stinging Nettle is one of the herbs that Susun Weed rotates through as her nourishing herbal infusions. I add dried stinging nettles to my soup stocks and broths.

  • HearthForYou
    HearthForYou Posts: 52 ✭✭✭

    Several years ago, I bought some stinging nettle from our farmer's market. I shook the seeds from the bunch in my back yard on a sunny spot on the north side of my house. They came up every year after the rains. They were super easy. They may not have lasted as long as what other people are saying when grown in a shadier spot, but they lasted several weeks.

    They're highly nutritious. Great for shakes and soups.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    @HearthForYou Welcome to TGN. Glad you had such good luck with your nettles.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,753 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is my first year in growing Stinging Nettles, I started out in a seed tray then carefully transplanted them in a container under an Ash tree which they seem to like.

    And it went from this ...

    Too this in a couple of weeks ...