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Gardening 101: Bugleweed

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Gardening 101: Bugleweed

March 14, 2017

Bugleweed, Ajuga:Hugging Carpet”

Ground covers are an essential component of garden design. I always suggest that unifying a garden bed is critical and can be achieved by planting a trustworthy ground cover. And by trustworthy, I mean one that quickly spreads, is attractive year round, smothers weeds, and maybe even handles sun and shade. What on earth satisfies all this? Ajuga, my friends.

Please read on to learn more:

Clumps of Ajuga add texture and interest to a carpet of ground cover. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
Above: Clumps of Ajuga add texture and interest to a carpet of ground cover. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

Ajuga is an evergreen perennials that forms a low and dense carpet-like mass and produces towers of either blue, pink, or white flowers. A solution to those tricky dappled-sun areas of the garden, Ajuga performs like an adaptable friend.

Above: Burgundy-colored Ajuga, spotted Farfugium, and a brownish ornamental grass show leaf shape, color, and form can create as much impact as flowers .To see more of this garden, visit: Garden Visit: Beverley McConnell’s 12 Acres of Eden.

Cheat Sheet

  • Tuck six-packs of Ajuga between pavers, into rock walls, or in the front row of perennial beds, to create an especially charming backdrop in woodland, cottage, and Asian gardens. I even plant Ajuga in containers as a bold foliage element.
  • Blooms in the late spring and summer and attracts butterflies.
  • Ajuga’s flowers make surprisingly good cut flowers.
  • Being resilient but small in stature, Ajuga looks good in a foreground and pairs well with Heuchera, Acorus, and small ferns.

Keep It Alive

  • Plant Ajuga…everywhere—in the sun, part sun, or shade. Just provide well-draining soil.
  • Give Ajuga regular water the first season to establish a deep root system, and more in hot weather. Though Ajuga can successfully compete with tree roots, I would admit this plant likes moisture.
  • While some sources say deer-resistant, I have seen hungry deer give this plant an unattractive crew cut. And speaking of “pruning,” remove spent flowers as needed.
Above: Ajuga ‘Cailtlin’s Giant’ in all its shiny, burgundy loveliness. Photograph by Kier Holmes.
My favorite Ajuga varieties: Ajuga reptans &#8
Above: My favorite Ajuga varieties: Ajuga reptans ‘Black Scallop’ with shiny, dark purple leaves. ‘Golden Glow’ sports creamy white tones that brighten shady corners. ‘Burgundy Glow’ (shown) has variegated burgundy leaves and tolerates less than desirable garden spots. Photographs by Anne Heathen via Flickr.

N.B.: Looking to add other plants to your garden? Our Garden Design 101 guides can help:

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