Boehmeria cylindrica

Smallspike False Nettle

$3.00 - $40.00

1/8 oz.
1/4 oz.
1/2 oz.
1 oz.

3 Pack
Out of Stock

New in 3-pack potted! Smallspike False Nettle is an understated – and often misunderstood – native plant.  Miniscule blooms tuft open in subtle shades of yellow-green spikes.  Flower stalks fan out and up from the pale stem, creating angular interest within the open foliage.  The bright green leaves are serrated and arranged opposite of each other.  This species showcases a diverse amount of expression variation: the stems are usually squared but can be round; it may be either hairy or smooth.  The inflorescence might develop leaves in addition to flowers, or it might not.  This species is oftentimes dioecious, with male and female flowers borne on distinct plants that pollinate each other by wind.  One consistent attribute is NO STINGING!  This Nettle, unlike many of its cousins, does not have the aggravating hairs that give this family a bad rep.

Boehmeria cylindrica is a perfect understory or woods edge plant.  It grows well in partial shade, but will tolerate a sunnier site if soil moisture is maintained.  Smallspike False Nettle grows to an average of 3 feet tall but can reach nearly 5’ in optimal sunny, damp conditions.  The lower leaves may yellow and wither if the base of the plant is too hot and dry.  Since this species lacks the stinging hairs, it makes a safe “filler” or foliage-focused specimen in butterfly gardens.  As it matures, this plant will slowly form clumps; pruning can encourage a fuller, bushy appearance. 

Being wind-pollinated, there won’t be a lot of pollinator action, but don’t be discouraged - Smallspike False Nettle is a host plant hotspot!  Fly larva of Neolasioptera boehmeriae will form galls on the Smallspike False Nettle stems.  Eastern Comma, Question Mark, and Red Admiral butterflies like to lay their eggs here, which later hatch as hungry little caterpillars that absolutely love munching on this species.  Flowing-Line Bomolocha moth caterpillars also have standing reservations at this top-notch native restaurant.  Expect to see their presence in holey, chewed up leaves and frass.  Unlike most other caterpillars, Red Admirals stay and pupate on their host plant, creating incredible little nests within the foliage.  What a great opportunity to see the entire cycle in one spot!            

Also commonly called False Nettle and Bog Hemp.

Live Plant Shipping

Spring Fall Age/Size
Potted 3-Packs May/June N/A 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep pots

Boehmeria cylindrica - Smallspike False Nettle

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

1 Question asked on Boehmeria cylindrica

Is this edible, like stinging nettles are?
Hi Hester. We haven't tried it ourselves but a web search says it is edible but less common than other nettles. As you might know, sustainably forage for nettles early, when they are just about 6" tall.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium
3 feet
Bloom Time
June, July, August
Bloom Color
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
Deer Resistant
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code