Plant Pick – Growing Ajuga

It’s fair to say that I love this little plant and I can never understand why it’s not used more. Interesting foliage? Check. Quick growing? Queck. Beautiful flowers? Check. Yet, when I look around gardens, especially show gardens, it’s obvious in its absence. Who knows why – maybe it just hasn’t caught on yet.

Ajuga reptans

Ajuga reptans, commonly called Bugle, is a low growing ground cover plant that’s ideal for rockeries, borders and even containers. It’s native to Europe, making it the perfect plant for wildlife gardens. Certainly, when it throws up its short little spikes of icy blue flowers, there’s plenty of bees buzzing around.  It’s particularly gorgeous at this time of the year, with it’s dwarf mountain range of blue peaks impossible to miss when you look into the garden.

Ajuga reptans

After the flower stalks die, it goes back to being a ground cover plant, but please, it’s still beautiful. A. reptans has deep purple, almost black, leaves that are veined with slight green. It’s a fantastic plant for growing at the front of borders and contrasting with other plants. I’ve also used it to great affect in pots where its growth can be contained and its foliage offset against other silvery and green hues. It’s also quick growing, so if you’ve got large patches of bare soil, a few Bugle plants will have it covered in no time. See? Win, win, win.

Name: Ajuga reptans (commonly called Bugle)

Thrives In: Best grown in partial shade, though I’ve used it in full sun too. With the latter, it’ll need watering in until it’s established. After that, it’s away!

Yearly Care: It doesn’t need a huge amount of care and easily maintained. After flowering, remove the spent blooms. Once it’s established, it may need a little cutting back now and then to keep it contained.

Growing Medium: Ajuga reptans is very hardy and will thrive in most soils. It prefers a well drained and slightly damp place to grow, but can tolerate dry soils too.

Quick Tip: Contrast with silvery and light green foliage for best effect. When using as underplanting, allow great swathes to form for a matt of late spring blue flowers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.