Sun exposure:
Dappled shade, full shade, full sun, partial shade
East facing, north facing, south facing, west facing
Position in border:
Front, middle


Prefers rich soil:
Acidic / Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

Betonica officinalis (recently changed from Stachys officinalis) is a British native perennial wildflower, with delightful purple-red blooms and fresh green, toothed foliage. It's typically found in grasslands and hedgerows, but does well in gardens. It's most commonly known as betony, but it's other common names include: common hedgenettle, purple betony, wood betony, bishopwort, or bishop's wort. Like other members of the dead nettle (Lamiaceae) family, betony can be identified by its square stems and lipped flowers, which are a magnet for bees and other pollinators.

Traditionally, betony was thought to have significant healing properties, and was used to aid digestion and circulation, as well as help to calm the central nervous system and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. All parts of the betony plant are edible and can be used fresh or dried to make a slightly spicy, aromatic tea, which is said to warm and soothe the body – in short, a cup of wood betony tea will make you feel better, and was once used as a catch-all herbal medicine regardless of the symptoms. Betony is also thought to aid concentration, and was even planted in churchyards to ward against ghosts.

Today, betony makes an excellent bee-friendly wildflower for a native wildflower border or meadow area. Its flowers are particularly favoured by the solitary wool carder bee (Anthidium manicatum), which sometimes nests in bee hotels.

How to grow betony

Betony is a vigorous grower, thriving in neutral to acidic soils, and is ideal for using as a wildflower plant. In garden planting schemes, betony works well alongside ox-eye daisy and ornamental grasses, and does as well in sun as in shade. For best results grow Betonica officinalis in moist but well-drained l in full sun to full shade. Sow seed in late summer where it is to flower, or raise from plugs. Cut back in autumn. It will self-seed readily.

Plant calendar

Collect seedsyesyes

Betonica and wildlife

Betonica is known for attracting bees, beneficial insects, butterflies/moths and other pollinators. It has nectar/pollen rich flowers.

Is known to attract Bees
Is known to attract Beneficial insects
Beneficial insects
Is not known to attract Birds
Is known to attract Butterflies/​Moths
Is known to attract Other pollinators
Other pollinators

Is Betonica poisonous?

Betonica has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People